• Timothy Lewis

"GROWING OUR LOCAL ECONOMY"

One fact all of us in Dorchester County can agree on is that we are growing, FAST.

Between 2010 and 2021, the County went from 137,000 residents to 163,000, a rate of 19.2%. By comparison, South Carolina's population as a whole grew by 12%, and the U.S. population by only 7.3%.

While much of this growth in Dorchester has been in and around the Summerville area, we can expect similar growth in the more rural parts of the County--including District #1. This area is ripe for development because land is more available and living costs are lower.

Key zoning decisions for our area to control this growth will be made by the Council in the immediate future. We need a strong voice on the Council to help make these decisions.

As your representative on the Council, I will make sure that all residents of our area have the chance to participate in this growth. We must grasp this opportunity to create a better economic future for our citizens.

My priorities for "Smart Growth" are reflected in the most recent Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy for the Berkeley-Charleston- Dorchester area. Among other major recommendations, this strategy will:

Encourage the creation of small businesses across the Region;

Support and promote women-owned and minority businesses; and

Support the success of small business incubators throughout the region to generate additional employment opportunities.

As your representative, I will make sure that the Council pursues this strategy and does not focus solely on bringing new large industrial enterprises to our area, as important as they are.

I believe in the power of entrepreneurship. Ownership is the key to upward mobility and wealth creation.

I know this first-hand. I ran a video production business that won awards for documentaries and that produced training and sales videos for industry. I also ran a franchised subcontracting business providing painting services to homes and light industry. I was Chair of the Minority Business Development Council in Charlotte, NC, a division of the local Chamber of Commerce.

To be successful as an entrepreneur I had to understand capital formation; capacity building; insurance; sales; and marketing. As a member of the County Council I will promote the training and apprenticeship programs that provide these skills so that we can grow the number of new small businesses in our area.

Small businesses are the heart of our economy. In Dorchester County there are 2,700 businesses employing from 1 to 9 people. My strategy for economic growth is to foster the creation of many more in our area---in retail, agriculture, forestry, recreation, hospitality, and other areas.

If we are successful at growing our commercial base, we can keep individual taxes low and permit our citizens to live and work right here in the County.

As your representative I will make Smart Growth a priority for the County Council.

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