Pine Ridge veteran, retired police chief, paralegal/investigator announces run for mayor in Nov 2021
Pine Ridge, SC – 02/28/2021 (Paul Kirby) – Pine Ridge resident Kevin Nation announced on The Lexington Ledger’s Good Morning Lexington County morning show Friday his intention to run for mayor of the small Lexington County Town in November of this year. In doing so, Nation said that it was time for new leadership for a safer community in Pine Ridge.
Nation is a former active-duty United States Marine and later served in the US Army. After doing tours overseas, he served and later retired as the police chief of the City of Westmoreland, TN before moving to Pine Ridge many years ago. He now works as a paralegal and investigator with the Judge Advocate General’s Office at Fort Jackson in Columbia.
He is married to Diana and the couple are empty nesters that enjoy cooking, travelling, the outdoors, and generally spending time together. He is also an avid golfer, a passion his wife enjoys seeing him indulge in, however, she does not share. They have grandchildren who live out of state that they love to talk with online and visit as frequently as possible.
In making his announcement, Nation said that he’s enjoyed following politics since becoming a fan of former President Ronald Reagan in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. He said that he never felt the need to get into politics because most of the years he’s lived in Pine Ridge, he thought the leadership of the town was doing a good job. “It was only after things seemed to take a turn for the worse over the past few years that I started to believe that perhaps I needed to do more for this great community,” Nation said during an interview. “I always cast my vote but didn’t interferer with the duly elected leaders. I believe when government leaders are doing a good job you should offer suggestions if you have good ideas. Otherwise, you should let them lead. However, when the time comes that the elected leadership appears in disarray, I am not the type to sit back and criticize but then do nothing. If I feel I can do better, I shouldn’t just say that but instead offer my leadership skills and work toward making things better. This is one of the reasons I’ve decided to run.”
Nation said that the loss of the Pine Ridge Police Department was a key indicator of a lack of leadership. He believes that many of the officers and chiefs left the town because of politics not because they didn’t enjoy the job or were underpaid. “It’s become obvious to many residences that the local politicians’ roles in managing the Police Department have hindered and frustrated some great police officers and chiefs. That has created a community that is less safe than it was four years ago. This is unacceptable.”
When asked about his own law enforcement experience and how it would affect his being mayor, Nation said he did not think it would cause him to interfere with the police chief and department in Pine Ridge. “I’m retired from that field and have no desire to return to it. I understand the town may hire a new chief next month. Once a qualified chief is hired, he or she should be left alone and allowed to run the department. That’s simply not the job of the mayor or any member of the council.”
He also said he wouldn’t push for an immediate “cleaning of the house” if he were elected. “First, with Pine Ridge’s form of government, the mayor doesn’t have the authority to go in and just begin firing everyone. Secondly, I was taught by a former commander that the first few months of a new tenure should be spent observing. Until you see employees and operations in action up close, it’s almost impossible to understand who is doing their job and why they are doing things that way. I would definitely want to take that time to evaluate the employees and their performances before making any decisions on their job performance.”
Nation went on to reiterate that Pine Ridge is a great place to live. “We experience it every day – The hardworking people, the sense of community pride and the expectations of the people to live safely within the community.”
He followed that by saying, “However, sometimes our local politics seems disappointing – filled with too much conflict and too little inspiration. We seem to have fallen into a rut in which our office holders believe that the only way to effect any change, to pursue any policy, is to draw up battle lines, manipulate the process, and quash dissenting opinions.”
“Is it really any wonder why so many people are turned off by the political process? Why so many dismiss the whole thing? Some of those in power rely on that disengagement as a way to push through their agenda.” Nation says he has no aspirations of power and no real agenda of his own. “A leader’s most important goal should be doing what’s best for the people as a whole, not themselves. Our town needs a leader with the courage to do what is right, not what is politically correct or convenient,” he stated.
The Police Department is not the only thing that Nation said he would focus on. “We as a community can do more to get to know our neighbors. We’ve had some family events in the past that were great, and we need to do more. We also need to meet regularly with the leadership of neighboring communities.” He said he was shocked to meet with another community’s mayor recently only to learn that she had never sat down and talked with the mayor of Pine Ridge. “To me, that’s just a shame and is unacceptable.”
Nation said his platform is three part and basic. “We need to start focusing on the basics and we need to make sure we get them right. My platform focuses on three fundamentals of building a strong town-first and foremost is a safer community. Secondly, transparency of government and last, stop frivolous spending.”
In closing his announcement Nation said, “I am reminded of a quote from President Ronald Reagan during a debate against President Jimmy Carter, “Are you better off now then you were four years ago?” I direct that same question to the citizens of the Town of Pine Ridge “Is our town better off now than it was four years ago?” I think you can answer that question for yourself.