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Bridge announces top three priorities for new office

Judy Bridge left sharing a moment of thanks with Dwayne and Melissa Buckner.

Judy Bridge has three top priorities for her seat on Walterboro City Council: help fill empty leadership seats, boost the economy and listen to the residents.

Bridge took the council’s empty seat in Tuesday’s election, defeating fellow candidate Dwayne Buckner by taking 341 votes to Buckner’s 248 votes. “I’ve known Dwayne for a very long time, and I hated to run against him for our relationship,” said Bridge. After Dwayne learned of his loss to Bridge on Tuesday night, he stood up and immediately walked to Bridge, giving her a congratulatory hug. Buckner’s wife also hugged Bridge, helping her to celebrate her win. “I appreciate his graciousness and his friendship,” Bridge said of Buckner.

Bridge was sworn into her seat on Tuesday. She will be the only woman on the 7-person council. “I want to make a smooth transition onto council,” she said. “The city is very busy right now filling positions of great importance, and I want to help council get people with the right qualifications. That has to be done. It’s urgent.”

Once in office, Bridge says, her top two priorities are to focus on her constituents and job recruitment.

“I want to learn their wants and needs for the city,” she said, of Walterboro’s residents. “That’s the only reason government exists.” Bridge said she plans to learn about people’s plans for their town simply by listening. “I will be visible, and available. It’s face-to-face contact.”

As for job recruitment, Bridge says she will begin boosting the local economy by compiling a think-tank on how to motivate seniors to come to Walterboro. She believes the city can boost its economy by bringing senior citizens, who want to relocate to the South, into the city. “I’m motivated by people on my own street who recently moved here,” she said. This think-tank will include realtors, business leaders and seniors who recently moved here, said Bridge. No specific people have been chosen yet.

From this group, Bridge wants to create a marketing plan for Walterboro’s economy. “More seniors here in Walterboro will increase our real estate sales, and will increase business. This is also a group of people who have the knowledge and time and money to contribute to our community and to the arts,” she said. “There’s a lot of opportunities here.”

Walterboro’s residents cast a total of 589 votes, less than the 20-percent voter turnout in the election’s initial race held Nov. 5. There are 3,072 registered voters inside the city.

Here’s how the votes are broken down:

In Walterboro Precinct 1, Bridge took 73 votes to Buckner’s 49 votes.

Buckner swept Walterboro Precinct 2 with 106 votes, compared to Bridge’s 28.

Precinct 3 was the tightest race, with Bridge taking 23 and Buckner getting 33.

Bridge won in Precinct 4 with 184 votes, compared to Buckner’s 28 votes.

And in Peniel, Bridge received 1 vote, Buckner took two.

The two candidates ran neck and neck with absentee ballots: Bridge had 32, Buckner had 30.

Heather Walters (50 Posts)