Name: Caroline Parker
Party: Nonpartisan
Office: Charleston City Council, District 12

Parker
  1. Why are you running?

When I moved from Summerville to James Island over ten years ago, I never would have imagined the direction the city we love is currently headed, with personal political agendas being placed above residents’ needs.

Poor decision-making by our elected officials have put the trajectory of the city we love in danger. From the violent and destructive riots last summer to the calls to reallocate police funds, from the push to raise taxes to the plan of spending $100 million on reparations – I know that common sense must be restored on City Council and problem-solving placed before politics.

2. What do you expect to accomplish if elected? 

Simply stated, I will restore common sense on City Council. 

My goals are to ensure James Island’s needs are addressed and our voices are heard, while prioritizing the necessities that affect all of our city’s residents – improving our community centers, alleviating flooding, improving traffic flow, protecting the environment, standing up for small business, and responsibly managing tax dollars.

3. What distinguishes your candidacy?

I am not a part of a political machine, nor am I beholden to any politician.

I am a preschool teacher, a mother of three, and a small business owner – making me not only the ultimate political outsider but also uniquely qualified to represent most of the city’s residents and I feel like I can reach and represent a core group of this Island.

My candidacy and, when successful in November, my work as a future Councilmember is to provide a voice to the average Jane and Joe – who, like me, want problem-solving placed above politics.

4. Describe how the impact of climate change in the Charleston area would affect your work if elected.

As stated above, my goal is to ensure needs are prioritized above politics. 

The reality is, with sea level rise, flooding problems continue to worsen in nearly every part of the city. This means, unfortunately, families suffer property damage to homes, students struggle to get to schools, workers struggle to get to work, and businesses are harmed accordingly. This problem affects us all – white, black, young, old, rich, poor, James Island, peninsula, etc. 

Since this affects us all, solutions on issues like flooding should be placed before personal political agendas.

5. Pick an issue you believe has not been adequately addressed by local government. Describe solutions you will pursue if elected.

Improving infrastructure – be it on flooding mitigation efforts or traffic improvements. 

For far too long, local governments have tried to play catch-up on infrastructure related to growth, instead of properly planning for said growth. And, more recently, prioritizing political agendas over the entire community’s needs like infrastructure improvement has also failed us.

I will consistently be a voice of reason on Council and be unwavering in my commitment of placing problem-solving over politics.

6. Pick one urgent issue currently facing the office you are seeking (different from questions 4 and 5) and describe how you would address it.

Public safety offers arguably the strongest contrast between myself and the incumbent.

While the incumbent has spent much of her time on Council developing and advocating for the special commission report that included a plan to “reallocate police funds,” I know that this would have detrimental effects on each and every part of our community.

On Council, I will support our law enforcement officers and work to ensure they have the necessary training and tools to not only keep the public safe but also to allow them to return home to their families at the end of each shift.

7. Do you pledge to work with other council members to move forward collaboratively and to reduce partisanized bickering? How will you accomplish this?

I will start to reduce the political-driven bickering by replacing an incumbent whose term has been defined by just that.

James Island and our city deserve a representative committed to problem-solving on issues that affect us all – like public safety, traffic flow improvements, flooding mitigation, etc.

I will proudly work with any member committed to that cause.

8. Please give a 150-word summary of your background.

Problem-solving above politics.

As a preschool teacher, a mother of three, and a small business owner – I am a political outsider, who never would have imagined, when I moved to James Island ten years ago, that I would be running for office. But I can no longer sit on the sidelines and hope that common sense will simply be restored on City Council on its own.

Like most on James Island, my children, husband and I frequent our parks. My children are active with youth sports on the island, and my husband is a proud sponsor and volunteer of the James Island Recreation Center. I have served as a community association president on James Island. Simply stated, we have been a part of the community for some time and are fully invested in James Island’s future and committed to making it an even better place.