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Commentary: Charleston County Elections Could Have Major Impact



Sheriff Graziano

By: Brady Quirk-Garvan, Guest Writer

Elections have consequences.

Despite all the noise from a small group of vocal Republicans, the election ended in November and we came away with some clear winners for Charleston County.

Here in Charleston, Democrats made some changes by flipping a County Council seat from Republican to Democrat and holding a seat where a stalwart Democrat retired. These changes on County Council will have some big consequences.

On the policy front, County Council needs to focus on a big push for more affordable housing, the development of the Bus Rapid Transit line from Summerville to Downtown Charleston, managing growth and infrastructure, and that’s before we get to unforeseen events like hurricanes, pandemics, etc. Having some new eyes focus on these issues will serve the taxpayers well.

Additionally, by electing Rob Wherman and Kylon Middleton to County Council, the median age on council dropped considerably. For those of us who believe representation matters, it’s nice to have some Council members who have young kids instead of grand kids. With all due respect to the grandparents on Council, it’s important to have a variety of ages represented in policy making – especially when planning out 10, 20, and 30 years from now.

The other major impact in Charleston County from this election is our new Sheriff, Kristin Graziano. The former Sheriff had some very outdated ideas about the world, and Charleston will be much better served with Sheriff Graziano. During her campaign she made it clear that she understood her primary job would be to keep Charleston County residents safe – but that reforming the massive department to incorporate honest and fair law enforcement was also important. In typical fashion, Sheriff Graziano didn’t waste any time in getting going. Having spent years working in the Sheriff’s department and having spent the last few months focusing on the transition, she was ready to start on Day One.

On her first full day, she signed the paperwork to end the formal agreement between the Sheriff’s department and ICE – making good on a campaign promise. Not only did she act decisively on this, but she did what is morally right and will make us safer. Instead of shipping in human beings to lock them up and make some extra money by getting reimbursed by the Federal government, she can work to ensure that the jail and Sheriff’s department are focused on their core job. Many other municipalities have already made that move. Unfortunately, the former Sheriff was unwilling to end this shameful program and it is one of the reasons he was ultimately voted out of office.

Here in Charleston we can now see firsthand that elections have consequences – electing Sheriff Graziano and putting some new blood on County Council will serve all of us well. Congratulations to Sheriff Graziano, Councilman Middleton, and Councilman Wherman.

Quirk-Garvan is the former Chair of the Charleston County Democratic Party. He lives in North Charleston with his wife and daughter and runs a socially responsible investment group. Learn more at or @bradyqg (Twitter)

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