UNION COUNTY — Continuing the progress Union County has experienced in recent years, being a voice for and improving the quality of life for the people of the county, and helping the people of Lockhart cope with the closing of their community school are the goals of the candidates running for the Union County Council District 1 seat.
District 1 has been represented for the past 12 years by Councilwoman Joan Little who earlier this year announced that she would not seek reelection.
In the months following Little’s announcement, three women — Mary Pacolette Genoble, Marie Knox, and Tracie Farr Campbell — announced that they would seek the Democratic nomination for the District 1 seat.
No Republicans are running for the District 1 seat, so the winner of the June 12 Democratic primary — or, if one is needed, the June 26 runoff — will be the district’s next councilwoman.
The first to announce her candidacy was Genoble, Little’s daughter, who says that she is running because she wants to be actively involved in the community and work with the other members of council and local officials in District 1 to continue the success the county has enjoyed in recent years.
“I am running for the office of County Council because I want to be actively involved in our county and want to ensure that decisions are made for the benefit of all the people,” Genoble said in satement released Wednesday. “I want to ensure that our communities have strong representation within the council.
”I feel my mother has done an excellent job during her twelve years as a County Council member of getting out in Lockhart, Jonesville, and other areas of the district,” she said. “She has a great working relationship with the mayors of Lockhart and Jonesville and I would like to continue these relationships.”
That active involvement will include working to help the county build on the economic success it is enjoying to enable it to fully realize its potential.
“I feel there are many positive things happening in our community with the growth of industry and I would like to see this continued,” Genoble said. “I feel we have so much potential with our location to the upstate hub that is growing by leaps and bounds.
“I have had the opportunity to tour a few of these industries, including Haemonetics, Timken and Santuc Precision to name a few,” he said. “I was impressed by some of the state of the art facilities and the products being made and the services offered in our county.”
In the area of education, Genoble said she is proud of the investment the county has made in local high school graduates through the Community Scholarship Program. She described it as “a tremendous benefit to our graduates that would like to stay local and attend USC Union or Spartanburg Community College Union Campus. The $65,000 just approved by County Council is huge. I do not know of such a program in surrounding counties and would like to see this program grow and benefit even more students.”
Genoble is an Enrollment Counselor at Spartanburg Community College and her duties include working with Dual Credit students at Union County High School. She said that this has enabled her to see the impact the Community Scholarship Program has on the students, the colleges, and local industries.
“It makes me proud of our county when I work with these students at SCC and Union County High School and see them benefit from our county’s investment in our future,” Genoble said. “This in turn benefits our two colleges that we are fortunate to have. It has also been awesome to see our industries reaching out to our SCC students for internships and employment before they have even completed the Mechatronics or Welding program at our campus. It is great to see our students continuing their post-secondary education here and remaining in the county for a competitive paying job.
Genoble is a graduate of Union Academy and attended USC Union, and USC Spartanburg (Upstate) and holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling and Guidance from Winthrop University.
After obtaining her Master’s Degree, Genoble worked as a counselor at Union County High School before becoming an Enrollment Counselor at Spartanburg Community College.
Genoble is married and she her husband, Tommy, have three daughters, Liza, Maggie, and Ella, and one son, Hayden. The family attends Foster’s Chapel United Methodist Church.
The second to announce her candidacy was Knox who said that she is running for the District 1 County Council seat because “I would like to be a voice for the people of Union County as I work to improve the quality of life for us all.”
Knox is a 1982 graduate of Union High School who attended Spartanburg Community College and Kenneth Shuler’s School of Hairstyling in Columbia.
In announcing her candidacy, Knox said that “I worked in Columbia as a hairstylist several years before returning to my hometown to work as a hairstylist in my family’s business. My parents, Gene and Loretta Becknell, started the business in the 70’s. My dad still works a few hours a week. I’ve been in business for 34 years as a hairstylist.”
Knox said that if elected she will be a voice and advocate for the people of District 1 on Union County Council.
“My plan is to put my finger on the pulse of what’s going on in Union County. I will listen to and communicate concerns from District 1 to county council. If elected I will be a voice for the people of District 1 and their concerns, no matter how big or small the problem is.”
Knox and her husband, Kenneth, have two children, Justin and Chris, and five grandchildren. They are members of Bethlehem United Methodist Church in Union.
The third and final candidate to announce was Campbell who said she is running because she wants to help the Lockhart Community deal with the closing of Lockhart School at the end of the current school year. Campbell, who taught at Lockhart School for the past 22 years, said she will be teaching at Jonesville Elementary/Middle School next year and that many of the students who attended Lockhart School will be going there as well. She said she wants to help them and their families work in the rebuilding of their community following the loss of their school.
“I’m running because I felt like when the school closed the community would die in Lockhart,” Campbell said. “The children I taught and will be teaching in the future live there. I wanted to do what I could to help their families in some capacity to try build the community back up.”
Campbell pointed out that Lockhart and Jonesville are both in District 1 and that the ties between them will grow closer as a number of students from Lockhart begin attending school at JEMS. She said that she wants to help the students and families of both communities to grow and develop and provide a better future for all.
“The children are my passion, I’m invested in their well-being and their future,” Campbell said. “I don’t see it as political, I see it as helping my children and their families. I see it as helping the children, families and communities of District 1 and all of Union County. I want Union County to be a place that children are proud to call home and where they have numerous job opportunities.”
Campbell is a native of Union County and a 1989 graduate of Lockhart High School. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from USC Upstate and her Master’s in Education from Converse College.
In addition to teaching 5th and 6th grade math and science at Lockhart School, Campbell for the past 12 years has coached volleyball at the school. She previously coached volleyball, track, and tennis at Union High School.
Campbell is married and she and her husband, David, have two daughters, Logan, 11, and Bailey, 8. The family attends Philippi Baptist Church where Campbell teaches 9th-12th grade Sunday School.
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090.