Open letter

St. Andrews, Harbison and Blythewood communities – seize the day and earn your “A”. Vote Derrek Pugh and for Richland County Council District II’s future.

On June 9, citizens of Richland County and particularly the communities of St. Andrews (Broad River), Harbison, and Blythewood, will be given an occasional opportunity, only occurring every 4 years, to advocate for our communities and families and help chart County Council District Two’s direction. June 9 grants us, across communities, neighborhoods, political party lines, zip codes, religious affiliations, age, race and gender – a chance to come together and vote for one unifying issue – Our future.

As an educator, I’m accustomed to administering tests. In my line of work, each spring semester students are administered examinations measuring how they have progressed, acquired academic knowledge, and met various skill competencies from the year’s start to the year’s end. In contrast however, our elected officials receive a much longer tenure between the time they are elected to govern until the time when voters “give them a performance assessment,” grade their effectiveness, and decide whether to re-elect. The ability to “assess” our elected officials is voters’ check and balance ensuring we are in fact receiving a ROI – Return on our Investment.

Grading appropriately and honestly, its time to select Derrek Pugh – a New Leader, New Voice, and New Visionary for District II. He is a leader committed to ensuring more transparency, accountability, public trust, and prudent tax payer dollar management. In meetings with neighbors like you and me, Derrek Pugh discusses his platform to fix our roads, protect our green spaces, slow-down the metamorphic residential development and growth, and ensure the completion of critical transportation projects to ease congestion and traffic. He commits to spawning economic development, supporting area businesses, creating entrepreneurship opportunities, and representing all aspects of the district with passion and compassion. Along with leadership, he brings ideas and aspirations of a “blue-zoned,” healthier and active county free of food deserts, a fully wired county with broadband access and wi-fi hot spots, and community beautification projects making the St. Andrews/Broad River and Blythewood Road and Wilson Boulevard Corridors key showcase gateways for guests, tourists and visitors traveling on I-26 and I-77.

On June 9 – this quadrennial, I encourage you to do the classwork and administer this test.

Seize the day and earn your “A” by voting Derrek Pugh as your next county council representative. Together, let’s envision big and bold possibilities for this decade and beyond. Let’s dream together on June 9 with Derrek Pugh. Our dream fulfilled is just a vote away.

Dr. Traci Young Cooper (Ed.S.,Ed.D.)

Dr. Young Cooper is a 16-year resident of Blythewood and 47-year resident of Richland County. She attended schools K-12 in the St. Andrews (Broad River Road) Corridor Public Schools graduating from Columbia High School. She remains actively involved in activities within the Broad River Community. She is a former SC State Teacher of the Year and former Chair of the South Carolina State Board of Education.