The James Island / Folly Beach Democrats played host to City of Charleston Councilman and Mayoral candidate William Dudley Gregorie earlier this summer at an event held at the James Island Senior Center.
Gregorie outlined his background in the public sector, which culminated in his 1999 nomination to head up the State of South Carolina’s Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Gregorie left S.C. HUD after a successful tenure, and entered local politics.
Twice Gregorie ran against incumbent Joe Riley, in 2007 and again in 2011, and both times he was defeated. The resurgent Gregorie was quick to remind though that he’s bounced back, surviving his constituency being redistricted. Gregorie’s District 6 went from 80 percent black to 80 percent white, and yet the City Councilman won reelection with a remarkable 62 percent of the overall vote, carrying every white-majority precinct in his district.
“I am running for the Mayor of the City of Charleston because I feel there needs to be a renewed focus on the people of this City and the problems that we face on a daily basis,” began Gregorie in addressing the small, diverse group of Democrats who assembled at the Senior Center.
When it came to his top priority, Gregorie was unabashed.
“I want to be the education Mayor. I am not going to have my head in the sand as the Mayor of this City as my constituents, who are children, fail … I’m not going to allow that to happen.”
On the topic of his past accomplishments Gregorie spoke first on his time with HUD, where was able to double the organization’s funding from $600 million to $1.2 billion, with over $2 billion in assets in under ten years.
“So a budget like the City’s of $180 million, was just like a program that I ran when I was Director of HUD for the State of South Carolina,” said Gregorie.
Gregorie displayed an apt knowledge of James Island’s issues as well. With redistricting, James Island became the largest portion of Gregorie’s once downtown-focused District 6. “Everyone I’m sure is aware of the fight over the “Gathering Place,” guess who’s district that falls in. District 6. Everyone was involved in the discussions with SCDOT over the Riverland Drive roundabouts, guess who’s district that falls in? District 6,” said Gregorie with a smile.
“I have been working for this island since it became part of my district, and as Mayor or not, I will continue to work on behalf of this island,” he said. “No one wanted that Gathering Place, but the zoning for that took place back in 2006. It pre-dated me, however working with the residents, and there were plenty of meetings folks, we were able to at least reduce the number of units and tier back the frontage from the street, and get more frontage from SCE&G to plant trees.”
The two-time Mayoral Candidate and two-time City Councilman was forthcoming on the other hot-button issues over the Mayoral campaign as well, those of transportation policy and transition policy.
On transportation: “We need to develop a regional transportation plan. We need light rail. We need to complete our road network throughout the city of Charleston. I want to bring some some very neat, simple options to the table regarding solution to our transportation problems, in addition to working with a long-range transportation plan.”
On transition, Gregorie was even more confident.
“I clearly understand the importance of transition, and transition with stability at its core. That’s what we’re going to need with the next Mayor.”
For more information on William Dudley Gregorie’s campaign for Mayor, see http://dudleygregorie.com or call 327-7900 to reach the Councilman’s constituent services line.