Kylon Middleton won’t take his spot as one of two members Charleston County Council until January, but he said he’s ready to get to work to remedy what he called “a trust issue” that has developed between county residents and its leaders.
“I do believe that council needs strong moral leadership. I ran on that,” said Middleton, who represents West Ashley and North Charleston on council and serves as senior pastor of Mt. Zion AME Church downtown. “We need to turn the page on some of the perceived baggage,” among county council leaders, he said.
First on his agenda, Middleton said, was revisiting how the county can ensure construction of affordable housing. Voters rejected two questions earlier this month that would have entrusted millions to county council to build an affordable housing trust fund. The issue, according to Middleton, boils down to having the political will to make it happen. The two questions before voters were nonbinding and added to ballots at the request of council leaders, who “punted” on the issue, according to Middleton.
“We’re not saying ‘No,’ we’re not saying ‘Yes,’ we’re just going to let the voters decide,” is how Middleton characterized council’s handling of affordable housing.
Election wins by Middleton and attorney Rob Wehrman give council a Democratic majority, a shift that could bode well for continuing discussions about affordable housing.
“Despite the failure of the referendum, the county’s got to find a way of still addressing that issue,” Wehrman told the City Paper the day after his election.
Wehrman won the seat on council being vacated by its chairman, Elliott Summey, who agreed not to run for reelection when he was hired to take over as CEO of the Charleston County Aviation Authority, a position he assumed in July. Former Chairman Vic Rawl also opted not to run for reelection.
Summey could not be reached for comment by the time of publication.
The first order of business for the new council will be to elect a chairman from its Democratic members. Middleton said he is interested.