As the Town of Hilton Head Island’s new mayor, I first want to humbly make clear that the task of implementing a fresh vision does not culminate in an election victory. Indeed, the greater task lies in the area of governance.
I fully realize that to be truly successful in moving forward, not only should our Town Council be in harmony as it sets policy, but we also must have continued dedication by the hundreds of hard-working men and women who perform the often complex choreography of both administering and executing town functions.
Integrity, Vision and Quality
Growing up, I was raised by a single mom. She and my grandfather taught me to accept responsibility at an early age; to live with integrity; to work hard and complete as best I can every task I started. Those are also the same values I believe our modern Hilton Head Island was founded upon.
In the 1960s our community was blessed by visionary entrepreneurs like Charles Fraser and Fred Hack and then later in the 1980s our newly incorporated town had the benefit of forward-thinking mayors like Ben Racusin and Martha Baumberger. It was Mayor Racusin who said “We are not against development. We want quality, planned development.” And it was Mayor Baumberger who first saw the need for enhancing public access to our beaches with accommodations tax revenues and the importance of sanitary sewer in the town’s more rural sectors. I believe this same visionary spirit is alive and well in our community today.
Accountability, Transparency, Strategic Thinking
In my election campaign I noted several times that while town government is not a business, town government can be more “business-like.” I believe we must reflect a strategic, accountable and more transparent approach in managing our town affairs. I hope my tenure as mayor will be seen in that light because I believe these are hallmarks of good leadership.
Over the course of the campaign and during these first several weeks of transition, I have become increasingly encouraged about our future as both a town and a remarkable destination. Of course there are challenges, but our incredible potential remains.
Status Quo No Longer Viable
I believe the coming years promise to be a time to reassess who we are and what we are capable of being as one of America’s shining communities. I hope you agree that the status quo is no longer a viable option. We no longer have the luxury of doing things the same old way. Just as Charles Fraser, Fred Hack, Ben Racusin, Martha Baumberger along with those who worked by their side found the wisdom and courage to conquer the challenges of their time, so I am confident we to can rise to the challenges of our time. I have sensed a strong spirit of service in our community. That’s why I hope you will join me in accepting the challenge as we embrace the opportunities that lie ahead. I am confident that by pulling the rope together, we can do better and move Hilton Head Island forward for the enrichment of all.