The sole race in Tuesday’s Democratic primary pits an incumbent Union County Councilman against a former member of the Union County Board of School Trustees.
Randall “Chump” Hanvey is seeking the Democratic Party’s nomination for a third term representing Union County Council District 5. Also seeking the nomination for what would be his first term on council is John Rampey who served four terms on the school board.
In announcing his bid for a third term, Hanvey pointed to the achievements of his eight years on council including the recruitment of new industries such as the Gestamp LLC manufacturing facility, ESAB Welding & Cutting Products, and the Belk eCommerce distribution and fulfillment center. Hanvey said that if reelected he will continue to work with the other members of council, the Union County Development Board, the City of Union and other agencies to continue the cooperation that has enabled the county to attract these industries during the past eight years. He said he wants to build on those successes and take advantage of recent improvements in the economy to attract more industries and more jobs.
Another achivement of the past eight years that Hanvey cited was the construction of the Timken Sports Complex which he said has provided local teams with new facilities for practice, giving them the home field advantage against the teams they play at the complex. In addition, Hanvey said the complex has attracted tournaments from outside Union County providing an economic boost for local businesses and generating more revenue for the county.
More recently, Hanvey voted with the rest of council to give the Miracle League, which provides special needs children and adults the opportunity to play baseball, its own field at the complex. The field which council designated for use by the Miracle League will be covered with a low-impact surface that will enable the league’s special needs players to play with reduced risk of injury should they fall. Council also voted to give the league access to PARD funds allocated by the state to the county.
Hanvey said he is proud of the decision to build the complex and prouder still of the decision to give the Miracle League its own field and provide it with access to the PARD funds. He said he is looking forward to the field being fitted with the new surface and the games the league will play there in the future.
In announcing his bid for the District 5 council seat, Rampey said if elected his priorities would be accountability in government and economic development. To achieve that accountability, Rampey said he would like to see an internal auditing system implemented. The system would involve an internal auditor who would report to council on the operations of the various departments of county government, how each department was spending the county’s money, and equipment purchases.
Rampey also pointed out that Union County has one of the highest unemployment rates in the state and he wants to focus on lowering that rate by attracting new industry to the county. To do this, Rampey said he wants to see council use fee-in-lieu of taxes agreements to negotiate arrangements that will not only bring new industries into the county but keep them here for many years to come.
Fee-in-lieu of taxes agreements provide industries with a reduced property tax rate and Rampey said the county should use that to ensure that industries that come into the county not only stay here for the duration of the agreement, but afterwards as well. Rampey said that sometimes industries will enter into a fee-in-lieu of taxes agreement with a county to take advantage of the tax break and then leave when the agreement expires. He said the only way to keep this from happening is to negotiate the agreements in such a way that industry makes a long-term commitment to the county. This, he said, is the key to lowering the county’s unemployment rate.
Also, Rampey said he wants the county to focus on attracting industries that will provide Union County residents with long-term, full-time, well-paying jobs with good benefits. He said that many industries will create jobs, but they will be part-time with no benefits. As a member of council, Rampey said he would push for the county to negotiate agreements with new industry that will ensure that the jobs created will be full-time with the kind of salaries and benefits that lower the county’s unemployment rate and improve the local standard of living.
Only nine of the county’s 23 precincts will take part in the the District 5 primary and, because of the way the district lines are drawn, only some of the registered voters in part of those precincts will be able to vote in the primary.
In Ward 1 Box 1 only 162 voters are eligible to vote in the Democratic primary and only 171 in Ward 1 Box 2. In Ward 2 all are eligible to vote in the primary while only 418 are in Ward 3. In Ward 4 Box 1 77 are eligible to vote while 344 are eligible in Ward 4 Box 2. In the Excelsior Precinct, 261 registered voters are eligible to vote while 111 are eligible in Monarch Box 1 and 104 in Monarch Box 2.
Anyone with questions about whether or not they will be eligible to vote in Tuesday’ s primary should call the Union County Voter Registrar’s Office at 429-1616.