James ‘Jim’ SellsQ: What is your background, and what qualifies you to represent the people of Mount Pleasant?
A: I have lived in the MP community for 57 years and provided community service within local government since 1980, retiring from a 33-year career with the city of Concord as the emergency management coordinator this year. I feel what qualifies one to represent the people is willingness to listen openly, without the thought of personal gain or gratification.
People in Mount Pleasant are no different from any other community; each has different needs, dreams and goals. One cannot judge the character of someone when they need something but by the actions they take when others do.
Q: What do you see as the issues facing Mount Pleasant right now?
A: Small towns across the county are facing challenges associated with rapid growth, declining rural populations, loss of tax base and aging infrastructure. Planning development while maintaining policies and growth that help preserve open space, protect air and water quality, provide places for recreation and encouraging business investments that help shore up the local economy are many of the issues facing our community.
Growth is once again rising after the 2008 recession, but unfortunately, the economy is past due for a downturn. We must look to partnerships with other communities which are co-beneficial and help us sustain our future.
Q: Why are you the best person for this office?
A: I have been humbled twice to have the privilege of serving on the MP town council. I have witnessed the current town council grow through education and being sensitive to the needs of the community.
Despite the challenges discussed earlier, we have been able to preserve the community without sacrifice of our heritage. The current council explores options and requests placed before them. We will face serious times ahead with challenging problems, and we will need serious, committed and understanding people working together to solve them. I bring experience, knowledge and community passion to help us through the road ahead.
Q: What goals do you have for Mount Pleasant, if elected?
A: Protect underdeveloped lands, discourage sprawl, and direct growth inward to strengthen existing neighborhoods. This includes development within our resource capacity. Neighborhoods should have open space or a naturally landscaped buffer zone to protect from development. Our open space is one of the community’s core values, which is irreplaceable. Encourage county development of an eastern park and recreation area. We must also evaluate alternatives to maintain and supplement our aging infrastructure and service challenges. Continue proactive engagement with regional partners to keep informed on efforts within their communities which work and may not work.