Women in Business focuses on women in politics

  • Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Staff Photo by Scott Rodgers The panel for the North Augusta Chamber of Commerce’s Women in Business luncheon included, from left, North Augusta City Council member Pat Carpenter, Aiken County Council member Lawana McKenzie, Aiken City Council member Lessie Price and League of Women Voters of South Carolina President JoAnne Day.

A common question posted by many political commentators is why aren’t there more women in politics? Why don’t more women run for office?

The North Augusta Chamber of Commerce’s Women in Business meeting last Thursday went head-on with that question. A panel of four women, North Augusta City Council member Pat Carpenter, Aiken County Councilmember LaWana McKenzie, Aiken City Council member Lessie Price and League of Women Voters of South Carolina President JoAnne Day, were moderated by North Augusta 2000s Phyllis Britt. The panelists spoke about many things, including their reasons behind running for office and what issues are important to them.

Another question posed to each of the panelists was what each was proud of.

“One of the things I’m proud of is this building we’re sitting in right here (the North Augusta Municipal Building),” Carpenter said. “On a 4-3 vote, we got it, and I remember riding through Riverview Park and going, sitting and watching them build it.

“I tell the children of this community all the time, I feel like Pat Carpenter represents the young people of North Augusta. I feel like our City Council, and yes, we are two women (Carpenter and Councilwoman Carolyn Baggott), but no one looks at that. Everyone is treated equally by our City government.”

McKenzie said when it comes to politics, she is most proud of constituent service.

“No matter when you call me, I try to respond quickly, give you the information you need or go to bat for you,” she said. “Sometimes I even have to tell people ‘That’s not going to happen.’ However, being honest is important — I believe most people just want you to listen to their problems and tell them possible solutions, and for you to help them and give a realistic view of the outcome. I can’t always do the exact outcome, but I can tell them things we have done in the past.

“I think I’m proudest of that service to people who have put that trust in me. The second thing I think I’m proud of is the low taxes in Aiken County, with the service that is provided. We do have very low taxes, and no one likes to pay them, but I think the times we have had to increase them, and when we did we have been very responsible. We are rated very highly in any organization that looks at tax bases. I’m also proud of the industries we’ve brought to Aiken County, such as Bridgestone/Firestone. If you give families a job, their problems decrease dramatically.”

Scott Rodgers is the news editor at The North Augusta Star and has been with the paper since 2013. Follow him on Twitter @TheScottRodgers.


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