Aiken City Council member at-large Philip Merry announced he will seek re-election in November.
Merry, a member of Council since March, was selected to fill the unexpired term held by State Rep. Don Wells. His current seat will change due to the upcoming election to fill District 6.
Having grown up on South Boundary, Merry said he cares deeply about what will be District 6 due to its history, vitality and preservation. He said the area sets a tone and gives the city of Aiken much of its identity.
With a respect toward Aiken's future, Merry said he believes strongly in historic preservation and supports Aiken's equestrian and sporting traditions. He also said he plans to lead an effort to protect and preserve Aiken's historic wooden bridges. He hopes to use his position on Council to develop a solution with the South Carolina Department of Transportation and maintain the bridges' charm in the city.
Merry has a bachelor's degree in business and economics from Wofford College. He later worked with The Hutson Etherredge Companies, an insurance agency, for more than 20 years. He also joined the Historic Preservation Commission, later named the Design Review Board, in 2001, becoming chairman soon after.
Merry said his goals for the future include making Aiken's Public Safety efforts a priority, maintaining Aiken's low tax rate and cost of living, developing infrastructure challenges and building Council's effort toward responsiveness and accessibility. Merry said he sees the challenges of diminishing job opportunities at the Savannah River Site and sees a priority in the importance of seeking diversification of the local economy.
The opening of filing for nomination by petitions and entry of candidates for primaries begins Monday, Aug. 5, at noon, and entry of candidates for primaries closes Monday, Aug. 12. Closing of entries for petition nominations closes at noon, Friday, Sept. 20.
All candidates must file at the Aiken County Registration and Election Commission Office located at 916 Vacluse Road N.W.
Maayan Schechter is a beat reporter with Aiken Standard. She joined the paper in July. She has a degree in mass communications-journalism from the University of North Carolina Asheville.