West Ashley’s Wire-to-Wire Winner?

Youngest, last entrant to Mayoral field Stavrinakis is showing no signs of fatigue in pushing for Mayoral job


Leon Stavrinakis

Several months ago, JIM managed to creatively carve out some one-on-one time with S.C. House of Representatives Rep. Leon Stavrinakis (Dist. 119) by “unknowingly” dropping in on a campaign fundraiser a little early. Not wanting to intrude, the interview was a brief one with a single focus hinging on a theoretical. ‘If Rep. Stavrinakis was in fact in the unofficial lead early in the summer, how would he continue to fend off attacks from trailing challengers without lowering himself to political palaver?’ JIM inquired, netting an answer that, to the point factual, and delivered without frills, reflected Stavrinakis the candidate perfectly.

              “It doesn’t mean anything to lead in the beginning if you don’t end up leading in the end,” said Stavrinakis with a wry smile and a nod that it was time for the interview to end and the fundraising event he had planned to begin.      And while it is by no means the end-all, be-all when it comes to municipal elections, funds for the race are flyi
ng about the Holy City as they’d never had before. A hardworking team, an exorbitant phone bill and the worn-down soles of his wingtips in local races and Stavrinakis is a that has garnered a man who is likely the most experienced politician in the race (though the youngest) a great deal of attention, but then again generating a cool
half-million dollars plus to fund his campaign, more than any other `candidate in the race, certainly doesn’t hurt matters.

                A 1992 graduate of the University of South Carolina’s law school. A few short years later, Stavrinakis began practicing as attorney, on his own, something he’s been at for nearly the last two decades. At the tender age of 49, Stavrinakis is not only the youngest candidate in the race, he’s been in politics the longest.

                After a short hiatus, the candidate, no longer a relative unknown, turned more heads than even in 1999 when he joined County Council. The Democrat credits both his win and the successes he participated in as a legislator to the seemingly simple, yet exceedingly rare ability to cross party lines without raising much more than an eyebrow.    

                “Being there and being ready to lead, it’s not something necessarily you get with just anyone you elect,” he begins. “Of course the way to know if anyone has that or not is to see if they have demonstrated it in their past, to look at their record as a public official.

                And it’s on that note that the Stavrinakis camp does focus. Having served at two municipal governments that supersede the City of Charleston, the County Council and the House of Representatives, Stavrinakis and his supporters alike believe that alone

                “I think the fact I have served in a variety of capacities as a public servant is a separator in the field .and obviously was very important to the chamber as it is to a lot of folk

“How can I get service please why is heon so I think it’s me. Thank youre are a lot of folks who are Republicans who support me,  and a lot of them appreciate 17 years of bouncing budget about raising taxes they appreciate a fiscal record that includes Triple A credit rating and successin doing the big projects  tacklin,  acquiring the funds in a very tough physical environment.

                A self-described “hands on” leader, Stavrinakis has a number of specific agenda tasks to tackle if selected to sit at the head of the Holy City. It is this promise, that the current Statehouse Rep. will be a “hands on” mayor, personally touching many of the projects he influences conjures up the image of the benevolent and the dominant, qualities most would state previous Mayor Joe Riley had in abundance.

                Further points of clarity regarding the campaign are education, which Stavrinakis views, though not technically the case, as an area of City life he or any other mayor could and should effectively provide leadership for.

                Stavrinakis’ position on the extension of the I-526 intersection was controversial, as it pitted his statistics, collected primarily from west of the Stono River stating the overall demand for the extension was without question against those of James Islanders, most of whom have yet (at least in their own minds) been forced to endure the experience of being wrong.

                On education he is equally strident, as in his mind, the coming of Boeing, Daimler, Bosch and other high-end manufacturers necessitate a major educational shift amongst our kids away from the liberal arts and closer to the world of engineering. If that idea itself grows along with the man himself, come November few others in Leon Stavrinakis it’s entirely possible you can witness the successor to Joe Riley, Jr. the next Mayor of Charleston.



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