Anderson seeking fourth term as mayor
LAKE CITY, S.C. – Mayor Lovith Anderson Jr. is seeking a fourth term.
When he was first elected in 2006, Anderson said he wanted to promote growth and education in his hometown of Lake City. And he said that is still one of his focuses today.
Anderson got his start in local government as a Lake City city councilman. He said he served on the council for seven years. Since his entrance into the political arena, Anderson said, he is most proud of how the Lake City community has come together.
“I’ve seen a lot of instances in the past years of where there were like the flood, hurricanes, just people in need, period, where our community has come together and functioned as a unit to help alleviate the stress and strain of individuals that were going through some issues,” Anderson said.
Even the 2015 massacre at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston brought the Lake City community together, Anderson said. Following that shooting, the Lake City community joined together and formed a ministerial alliance that hosts fifth-Sunday services.
“And this gives us an opportunity to come together and worship and pray where we can get beyond the boundaries of our four walls that we go to every Sunday, so people can learn each other,” Anderson said.
Lake City has started many projects since Anderson first became the mayor.
“The college is one,” Anderson said. “The hotel is being complete, now closed for renovations. The Bean Market, we’ve revamped it. We now have a nice Village Green back there. We have festivals different times of the year. We have weddings and a lot of social events that come, and getting the entire community to understand that this is for everybody.”
Lake City has a lot of history, from its agricultural roots to having one of its native sons go into space (Ronald E. McNair) and native daughters being recognized as one of the smartest businesswomen in the world (Darla Moore), Anderson said.
“And when you look at that and you say, ‘How can we move our community to next phase of its growth and its destiny?’ well everybody wouldn’t have the same outlook as I do,” Anderson said.
Former Charleston Mayor Joe Riley and Anderson often spent time together at conferences they attended. Anderson said Riley would always tell him, “Stay focused on what you’re trying to get done.”
“He said no one else is going to look at it the way that you do,” Anderson said. “And to be able to do that, you’ve got to be around for a long time. And I think – and this is just me speaking – that we have accomplished a lot in the past years. Have we been perfect? No, we have not. No one is.”
Although the city may have taken a little bump and bruise, “we jumped right back up, got back in the saddle and we started to ride all over again,” Anderson said.
Some accomplishments under Anderson’s leadership includes the opening of a new public works building, community cleanup events, implementation of the LakeTran bus service, business growth and changes in city administration.
Looking ahead to a possible fourth term as mayor, there are several things Anderson said he would like to see the city accomplish. One thing is to tackle infrastructure needs.
“Of note, we had a force main to have a major break during ArtFields,” Anderson said. “And it allowed us to take a progressive look at what we need to do because all communities have aging infrastructure. So now we have a plan in place to work on that.”
The city is working on acquiring funding and is planning how to not only make the repairs but continue to enhance the system.
Another goal is for there to be more transparency and communication from the city’s administration office and departments. Anderson said he wants folks to understand where and how their dollars are spent and that the city stretches them as best as it can to get “more bang for our buck.”
“And I think when the people see what you’re spending the money on, and that you’re spending it on projects and in items that are worthy that we need to have to have the city function and run with, then they’ll feel more at ease in how we manage things,” Anderson said.
Community shapes a city, and Anderson said he would like to see more community involvement in Lake City. In that, he said he is referring to people going to meetings so they can get a clear understanding of why the city is doing certain things.
Anderson also notes concerns for adequate and affordable housing in Lake City which he said ties in with the city’s infrastructure concerns and needs to accommodate future growth.
“As mayor, I represent the entire community, and no one segment of the community,” Anderson said. “And Lake City is no longer a small town because we have many cultures in Lake City. And everyone needs to be represented. Everyone needs to know that they’re welcome at the table, and everyone needs to know their ideas and their thoughts really count.”
In the Lake City mayor’s race, Anderson is being challenged by Yamekia Robinson and Gloria C. Tisdale. The election is scheduled for Nov. 6.