Swansea town councilman and local businessman Mike Luongo running for mayor
Swansea, SC 10/11/2021 (Paul Kirby) – Current Swansea Town Councilman Mike Luongo is running for the position of mayor of Swansea. Luongo owns a small business in the Swansea are where he lives with his wife Permelia Sharpe Luongo. He shared his thoughts and ideas about the November 2nd election in a prepared statement that was released over social media. Luongo began by stating, “A great town is measured by the quality of the lives of the people who live in it and Swansea is a great town.”
Luongo is a native of the Chapin area of Lexington County but moved to Swansea after meeting his wife who grew up in the Swansea community. According to Luong, he and his wife both learned their values from their loving parents. “It's where I learned something fundamental from my father... people matter, public service matters,” Luongo wrote recently. “It's where I also learned that you have to be prepared to take on tough fights and that making a real difference in people's lives is what matters most.”
Swansea has faced some tough times over the past few years. Over the summer, Swansea’s suspended Mayor Jerald Sanders was indicted and arrested for misappropriating town funds. The investigation into Sanders started when Luongo and fellow councilmember Doris Simmons began to question why the members of the town’s council were not able to see financial records for the town. He’s said in the past that any practice of hiding records from the public or other elected officials must stop. He believes that full transparency is the only way that the town’s government will ever win back the complete trust of its citizens.
Luongo says that once he’s elected mayor, he is ready to meet the town’s challenges head on. In the 31 years he’s been running his own business, he’s learned a great deal about challenges and how to overcome those. He also points to his record of serving on the town’s council over the past four years as an example of where he learned about government and its inner workings.
While serving on the council, Luongo fought against and helped stop two new ordinances to increase the amount of millage residents must pay in taxes. He also opposed a new hospitality tax that was proposed during the COVID-19 pandemic, an inopportune time for any new taxes.
Luongo says he also voted against the sale of the Town of Swansea's Water Department to the Lexington County Joint Water and Sewer Commission. In his statement he wrote, “I knew it would have put long-time employees out of jobs and cost Swansea their primary source of income.”
“My highest priority has always been the safety of our people,” Luongo said recently. “Swansea has a new police chief and two new officers.” If elected, Luongo wants to expand the small town’s our police force so that they can provide 24/7 coverage.
Luongo said that once elected he wants to partner with Swansea’s Police Chief Williams to implement a Kid Watch Program. He feels this would ensure the safety of the area’s children on their way to and from school. Along the same line, Luongo stated, “I strongly believe in an expanded community policing partnership with our neighborhoods.” Modern Community Policing techniques have proven to be effective in reducing crimes and show a good return on investment for the citizens of an area.
Once mayor, Luongo said he’d like to have all Swansea police officers specially trained in the proper handling of Domestic Violence situations. “To end violence in our community, we must begin by ending violence in the home,” he stated.
“I have the experience where it counts,” Luongo said, “right here in my adopted hometown.” He continued, “I am proud of my record on the town council, but I am not done yet. As mayor, I will offer new ideas to improve our town.”
He also addressed the challenges that have faced small businesses as a result of the ongoing world-wide COVID-19 pandemic. He said that as a small business owner, he knows how hard the COVID-19 shutdown affected Swansea area businesses.
If elected, he says he would form a committee with the owners of all the abandoned buildings in town and work together with them to solve the problems associated with the town’s Main Street. Currently, there are a number of dilapidated buildings along that corridor that are sitting unused and uninhabitable. Luongo suggested that one remedy for that situation is to use funds from the American Rescue Act and the CAREs Act to provide seed money for people who want to start a small business. “I want the committee to explore the possibility of new small businesses renting from downtown building owners,” he concluded.
Continuing along the same line of thought on economic development and revitalization Luongo said, “I want to create a climate that encourages businesses and entrepreneurs to follow their ingenuity and invest in their ideas. I believe it is the job of the mayor and council to help reach out to new businesses.” If elected, Luongo said he would propose eliminating business licenses on start-up businesses for two full years.
Luongo also addressed the situation that often plaques small towns across the state. He said he knows that many of the town’s citizens question the value of staying in Swansea. Once elected, he said that he would work to convinces people that they are important to the life and success of Swansea. He also wants to ensure that the town’s citizens understand that Swansea is important to them.
Luongo says that he strongly supports a committee made up of a representative from each of the town’s voting districts and neighborhoods to advise the Swansea Town Council and mayor. He continued by saying that for too long, the town has left the public out of the decision-making process and it’s time for that to stop.
In closing his release Luongo said, “To lead Swansea, the next mayor will have to work tirelessly to gain and keep the confidence of every part of our town -- I believe I am that person.” He hopes that his history, record, and love of Swansea will convince the town’s residents that he’s the right person to be the next mayor of Swansea.
To learn more about Mike Luongo, follow his campaign page on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MICHAELLUONGOFORMAYOR/. A debate between Luongo and the other three candidates for mayor will be held tomorrow, October 12th, 2021 at the Swansea Freshman Academy. That debate is open to the general public and residents are urged to attend.