Thursday, June 19, 2014
Tommy Newell secured more than 59 percent of the vote during the June 10 Republican primary to presumably earn a spot on Berkeley County Council.
Newell will likely go on to represent District 4. In his first bid for public office, he defeated videographer Aldo Napoli and former Berkeley County School District boardmember Jim Royce. The incumbent, Cathy Davis, did not seek reelection.
“I believe getting 59 percent of the vote should send a message that people in District 4 want representation to the fullest extent,” Newell said. “I’m grateful. I had a lot of supporters and a lot of help. It wasn’t just me. This was a community effort. I’m just a vessel.”
But Newell has about a six-month wait before his likely swearing into office.
As the only candidate registered for the November election, Newell is the presumptive winner of that contest, barring a successful write-in campaign.
On the Friday after the Republican primary, Newell said he was hitting the ground running.
He said he plans to meet with Davis and work with her on some urgent priorities in the district.
“I’m not going to wait until Jan. 1 to start working for the people of District 4, but I’m not going to step on Miss Cathy’s toes either. I’d like to work with her on situations that people have already brought to my attention that need to be dealt with now, not six months from now,” Newell said.
Those projects include drainage issues, roads in need of repair, and dilapidated homes in the district.
He said his No. 1 priority now and once assuming office will be to maintain a more “active” law enforcement presence in his district.
And while he waits, Newell said he will also brush up on the way the county operates. He said 2012-elected Councilman Ken Gunn has already reached out to him to let him know what to expect.
“He’s been quite helpful,” Newell said. “I just have to listen to a bunch of people and ask a bunch of questions.”
But he also said he won’t be a “yes man” or a “puppet” to anyone on council.
“I’m not going there to be on (Supervisor) Dan Davis’ side, or to be on (Councilman) Tim Callanan’s side. I’m there to be on Distirct 4’s side,” Newell said. “If they want to stone-wall me, I will expose them for who they are ...
“That’s why I got elected — y’all know I stand up on my own. But I want to work with all of them. I’m not going up there to be defiant.”