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Op-Ed - An open letter to the citizens of South Congaree

South Congaree, SC (​James Galluzzo) - To my fellow residents of the town of South Congaree. My name is James Galluzzo. After twenty years of service to our nation as a United States Army officer, having lived in numerous communities, large and small, across the country and the world, by Orders from the Department of Defense, my family finally had a choice of where to establish our home. My family moved to a lovely home in the Congaree Downs subdivision in 2018. This area of the midlands of South Carolina presented great potential for quality of life, and proximity to a large metropolitan area, while still having the feel and character of a small community and town. It is similar to the small towns where my wife and I grew up in New England many years ago. It is wonderful, after our entire adult lives to this point, to finally live where we choose.

When my family moved here, we felt it was still our responsibility to be civic oriented, and to get involved. It is important to be invested in the place we call home. I attended the local council meetings and volunteered to help in whatever capacity my talents could be used. Many of you may recall seeing me at a gathering of the town to present a process on how to resurrect and update a comprehensive plan for our town, something that I feel is necessary as the communities around us continue to grow and expand, virtually unchecked by any meaningful controls or organization in the county. However, our town has been relatively unaffected unlike other areas of Lexington, and we have a choice of how our community will respond to the growth in the years to come.

I had a front row seat to watch members of council, town elders and long-time resident families react to the prospect of change. I saw how they chose to respond. When change threatens the status quo, there will be some, anchored to the past, who will react with great haste to stop all progress. I could see there were two distinct visions for the direction of our town. One that would actively manage the changes that are inevitably coming, and one that would passively resist those changes and pretend they will not occur as long as we do nothing. There is a clear choice in vision.

On Tuesday, July 14th, we as residents will have an opportunity to choose. This choice is to determine who should lead this great town and be entrusted with its governance. As a retired Army officer, I know something of leadership and character. As a human resource professional and expert for most of my career, both military and now civilian, I know something about hiring the right people for a job. I believe there is a clear delineation among the candidates running for Mayor and Council.

One group of candidates offers direction and leadership. Their agenda is clear: update our outdated ordinances, enforce our laws, empower our law enforcement, promote business growth with the types of businesses that attract families, money and further investment not the type that attract crime, increase poverty, or provide little in benefit to the community at large. The other candidates have offered little more than complaints about the current administration of the town. They complain about the way things are being done as a pretext to stop what is being done. One only needs to see how their support is girded by former council members and town patriarchs, all who have led this town in what I feel is the wrong direction. While they personally may have prospered in the past, the town as a whole did not. It has only been recently, due to the efforts to change our direction and with a clear vision that we have begun the progress that should have occurred years ago. Make no mistake, supporting this opposition group isn’t voting for the future, it is voting for a return to the distant past.

In our neighborhood we have recently had homes sell for over $200,000. Last week, I was nearly hit by someone running a red light at the intersection of Ramblin Road and Main Street. As I looked up, I saw the emergency lights of a South Congaree Police vehicle turn on and pull out in immediate pursuit. We are seeing new businesses being built in town that will provide jobs and revenue to the town. I believe these things are happening as a direct result of our town’s direction and the choices that have been made by council. I do not want those changes undone.

That is why, my friends, I am choosing to support Danny Jones for Mayor and Teddy Huff and Wally Shangle for Town Council. Do not let others with a vested interest in opposing change, looking to undo what efforts are being made to improve our community, mislead you. It is easy to hurl accusations in an election and claim to be honorable and to claim they have the citizens interests in heart. I judge by action. Having worked directly with them since becoming involved in the town I find Danny, Wally, and Teddy to be leaders of strong character, compassionate, and capable of being decisive. Leaders lead people, managers manage processes. I have watched their actions. I have listened to their thoughts on what this town needs; I have engaged them and had my questions answered and I share their vision. I am asking you to choose to join me this Tuesday, July 14th in voting for Danny Jones, Teddy Huff and Wally Shangle so that we may continue this path to a prosperous and vibrant future.

Sincerely,

James J. Galluzzo III

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the opinion of the writer and the staff of The Lexington Ledger makes no decision as to the validity of its content. It may of may not reflect the opinion of The Lexington Ledger's staff. We do not endorse any political candidate in any race.

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