Name: Gary Santos
Office: Mount Pleasant Town Council at-large
- Why are you running?
I have been an elected official for Mt. Pleasant for 21 Years and I want to continue to contribute to the quality of life that our citizens have come to enjoy. We have low property taxes, the 3rd safest municipality in the State, top STEM School in the Nation (Laing), best schools, best Recreation Programs, best Senior Center and two time All America City. I want to continue this trend.
2. What do you expect to accomplish if elected?
1. Increase revenue for the Town without raising taxes by bringing in Soccer and Lacrosse Tournaments. We already have fields and staff who take care of them so there will not be any extra expenses…just pure revenue for the town and our local businesses including, but not limited to, hotels, restaurants and retail stores. Revenue for the Town will come through rental of the fields, Hospitality Taxes, Accommodation Taxes and Sale Taxes. 2. Increase Recreation opportunities for our citizens including, but not limited to, our Seniors by building a second Senior Center in the Northern part of town.
3. What distinguishes your candidacy?
I get things done. I have written more ordinances than any other previous Council Member. I wrote the “No Smoking Ordinance” which prevents smoking in public places; The “Vendor Partnership Program” that encourages the Town to work closer with local businesses; The “Abandon Boat Ordinance” that makes it illegal to abandon boats in public waterways around the town; I co-wrote the Code of Conduct Ordinance for the Town that holds elected officials accountable for their actions, I started multiple recreation programs including, but not limited to, Mt. Pleasant Youth Regatta, Mt. Pleasant Middle School LaCrosse, to name a few.
4. Describe how the impact of climate change in the Charleston area would affect your work if elected.
We have to always keep aware of Climate change and the impact it has on our communities. This change certainly affects areas in Mt. Pleasant as well. In fact, we just broke ground on a multimillion dollar drainage project in the Old Village area in Mt. Pleasant. This project will eliminate the serious flooding that occurs in that part of town during torrential rain events due to climate change. We already invested in eliminating serious flooding in the Snee Farm Watershed area as well and upgraded Coleman Boulevard with catch basins that are able to control flooding as well.
5. Pick an issue you believe has not been adequately addressed by the local government.
Describe solutions you will pursue if elected. A big issue was increasing employee pay. Due to the Pandemic, it was delayed. However, increasing employee pay has been accomplished through our wage and comprehensive study and the Town is voting to approve an increase in wages for our employees in our October Town Council Meeting. Building a second Senior Center in the Northern part of Town needs to be thoroughly researched. Our population has increased substantially and our current Senior Center is congested. The Town should work with Roper Hospital, in northern Mt. Pleasant, to partner in establishing a second Senior Center.
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.
I am the Chairman of the Recreation Committee of Council and am pushing to have some local Soccer and Lacrosse Tournaments in the Town. Many of our citizens have to travel out of town almost every weekend for their children to participate in tournaments. I believe we need to host some tournaments here in Mt. Pleasant so the town can receive an economic benefit from these tournaments and our citizens won’t have to travel every weekend for their children to play in tournaments. The town already has the fields and the staff to manicure and manage them.
7. Do you pledge to work with other council members to move forward collaboratively and to reduce partisanized bickering? How will you accomplish this?
There will also be times when Council Members don’t agree on issues. However, they should always be able to agree to disagree and move on. I have always treated my colleagues, including but not limited to, Council members and staff, with respect and as a team player even when we disagree. I was elected “Friendliest” during our Senior Superlatives in High School and I have always conducted myself as a friend to everyone I meet or work with.
- Please give a 150-word summary of your background.
2008 Associate Degree, Business Management/Leadership Development Trident Technical College
1999 Secured 27 Acres of land from SCDOT for the Mt. Pleasant Memorial Waterfront Pa
2021 Secured funding for the Mt. Pleasant First Responders Monument at Mt. Pleasant Memorial Waterfront Park
2020 Secured $5.2 Million Dollars for phase three of Mt. Pleasant Memorial Waterfront Park
2005 South Carolina Recreation and Parks Association’s “Local Government Official of the Year”
2005 Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce “Recreation Advocate of the Year”
2017 National Transportation Week “Transportation Leader of the Year” 2006 “Established the “Mt. Pleasant Recreation Foundation” 2012 Secured 100 Acres from the Port Authority along Hobcaw Creek for the Mt. Pleasant Open Space foundation
-Maritime Association of South Carolina Board of Directors
-Maritime Association of South Carolina “Port Rules Committee”
– City of Charleston Tourism Committee (Cruise Ship subcommittee)
– International Trade Conference – Board Member
-Sc World Trade Center – board Member