By Al Dozier
Four candidates have filed to run in a special election March 3 to fill the council seat recently vacated by Barry Walker Sr., who was elected mayor in November.
Long-time Mayor Hardy King was voted out in the election, along with two incumbent council members, Julius Waites and Mark Pouliot. Erik Sickinger and Kelly Busch are the two newly elected council members.
According to a news release from the town, the following candidates have officially filed for the vacant council seat: Barbara Waldman, Arthur McClain, Mike Ward and Bill Danielson.
The candidates are all political newcomers who have not held elective office before. One of the candidates, Mike Ward, ran for mayor in the November elections. He came in third, behind Walker and former Mayor Hardy King.
Danielson is a local businessman who has been active with chambers and non-profit organizations in the Irmo area for the past 30 years. He has also served at the state level with the State Department of Disabilities and Special Needs.
He says he can bring his business experience to the council and hopes the town can work with neighbors and nearby towns. He wants the town to listen to the community and speak with a good tone, instead of the negative tones so often heard at council meetings in the past.
Ward is a local entrepreneur who is a licensed Health and Life insurance agent and does technology training for groups and individuals
Ward posted a notice on his Facebook page noting he had 367 votes in his race for mayor and a lot of supporters in his campaign.
“Every position on council is important,” he said. “Every person has the opportunity to bring a unique point of view to the situations our town is facing. I promise to bring an open mind and two listening ears to every situation we encounter. I promise to fight the good fight to make sure all of our residents are represented when decisions are made.”
Waldman is a research associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at USC. She has been actively engaged in school improvement councils in Lexington-Richland District 5. She received the District 5 Superintendent’s Volunteer Service Award in 2015.
She recently ran an unsuccessful campaign to fill a District 5 School board seat.
Waldman said she has had a lot of leadership experience in the District 5 School District and feels it will help in serving on the Irmo Council. She would seek to avoid the conflicts she has seen at council meetings.
“I am a collaborator,” she said
McClain, a veteran service representative who works for the federal government, said “I just want to make Irmo better,” when asked why he was running. He’s said he has been around the world and knows how government works.
McClain said he is familiar with the Irmo community having lived in the area for the past 14 years.