This year, three seats on the Aiken City Council are in flux.

In November, voters across the city will hit the polls to help choose the next mayor and the next respective representatives for the city's first and third districts.

Ahead of that general election, the sole competitive Republican primary for City Council District 3 on Aug. 13, and a political forum Aug. 6, the Aiken Standard reached out to the total seven candidates for a Q-and-A.

Aiken Mayor Rick Osbon, a Republican, is running for reelection. He is alone in that race.

Gail Diggs, the Democrat currently representing District 1, is seeking reelection, as well. She faces political newcomer Jeremy Stevens, a Republican.

One Democrat, John Brecht, and three Republicans, John Klecker, Nick Weaver and Kay Biermann Brohl, are seeking the District 3 seat.

The District 3 incumbent, Republican Dick Dewar, is not running, a move he announced earlier this year.

The three Republican candidates in that race will be the focus of the Republican primary on Tuesday, Aug. 13.

We wanted to know who all these candidates were, what they stood for, why they were running, what sets them apart and why (they think) voters should support them.

The Aiken Standard asked them to introduce themselves and answer several questions. Their answers are provided below; some are edited for clarity and brevity.

Who are you?

Osbon (M): Rick Osbon is the mayor of Aiken, having been elected in November 2015 as Aiken's third mayor in 64 years.

Rick is a third generation family business owner in Aiken, running the family business, Osbon's Dry Cleaners, which his father and grandfather started together in 1948.

Rick served on the Aiken County Council for eight years, where he built a strong record as a fiscal conservative who stands up for his principles while working with others to reach consensus. For five years he served as vice chair of county council and chaired the development subcommittee for six years.

Rick graduated from Aiken High School and is a 1993 graduate of USC Aiken with a degree in business administration.

Rick believes that Aiken is truly the best place to live, work, and raise a family, but that we cannot take for granted that the Aiken of today will be here for future generations.

Diggs (D1):  I was born in Aiken and grew up in New Ellenton.

I attended Aiken County public schools and graduated from Aiken High School in 1973. I attended the University of South Carolina in Columbia, and received my bachelor's degree in criminology/sociology in 1977.

Voters should know by now that although I was elected to represent District 1, when I vote, I vote for what I think is in the best interest of all residents in our city.

Early in my life, I realized that I had a passion for serving others. I have dedicated my life to working with our local nonprofit organizations.

Stevens (D1): I am a family man with Christian values, with two eyes, two ears and one mouth.

I have a loving wife and two children. I have lived in Aiken for 10 years now and wish to be part of our continued growth as we build a city for my children to stay and work in, and this will be my focus as District 1 councilman.

I worked aircraft avionics in the Air Force, and once out I went into sales and management because I like the customer service aspect and taking care of people's needs. I now work at Wayne's Automotive (a family business in Aiken for 35 plus years).

Brecht (D3): I am a husband, father, and retired video producer actively involved in helping our city be the best it can be for nearly 34 years my family and I have lived here.

We moved to Aiken from Maryland when I was offered a job at the Savannah River Site. I have served on the Aiken Strategic Planning Committee, the Old Aiken Master Plan Steering Committee, and the Boards of Directors of Aiken County Red Cross and Helping Hands. I currently serve on the Board of Zoning Appeals.

I am committed to helping Aiken grow responsibly while preserving the charm and beauty that make it a great place to live.

Klecker (D3): I am a financial executive with undergraduate and master's degrees.

During my career I was employed by Parsons and served as the vice president and controller for the company's largest division earning $1.4 billion annually in revenues, which included the Salt Waste Processing Facility contract.

I have been actively involved in Aiken as a member of the city of Aiken Planning Commission, SCORE business mentor, member of Houndslake Neighborhood Association Architectural Review Committee and a board member for the Villas HOA.

My wife and I have three sons, two of them living in Aiken. My son Michael is a volunteer firefighter for the ADPS.

Weaver (D3): I am a lifelong resident of the CSRA, born in Augusta, and living in Aiken's District 3 for the last eight years.

My formal schooling is in computers, but my passion is family. Family not only by blood or close relationships, but coworkers and social circles. I always look for ways to make my community a more compelling place for everyone, and in that pursuit, started a gaming and pop-culture convention, Agamacon, which incorporates interests for all ages and backgrounds.

I work at SRS and participate in their many community outreach opportunities.

I feel it is important for Aiken to continue moving forward, while preserving its unique past.

Brohl (D3): I have lived in Aiken over 30 years, I reared my son here.

I have loved Aiken from the time I first came here. But in any city, there are issues that arise. We have to look at them as opportunities that we can work together to solve rather than letting them become obstacles.

We need a vision, not just an agenda.

A municipality's primary responsibility is ensuring the safety of all citizens. If we do not have that, nothing else matters. We must see that officers who put their lives on the line have the resources that they need.

We must foster a culture that encourages investment and the creation of jobs and neighborhoods. We want our children to grow up here and have a career here.

District 1: What makes you the most qualified person for the job?

Diggs: I have lived in District 1 a total of 19 years: four in Crosland Park and the last 15 in Asheton Oaks. Most of my constituents know me and trust me. I am very active in this district community and cherish the relationships I have built.

I am the director of outreach and community services for Rural Health Services, Inc. We are a federally qualified community health center with three locations in Aiken County. We see those with Medicaid, Medicare, private insurance, offer sliding scale fees for those that qualify, and we don't turn anyone away for their inability to pay.

Stevens: I believe a new, fresh set of eyes and ears is always needed throughout the growth of a community.

District 1: Do you have a plan to attract businesses or investments to the Northside and District 1, more specifically? If so, what is it?

Diggs: I have been and continue to work day in and day out on Northside economic development.

We had a major success story when City Council decided to invest in District 1 by building a state-of-the-art Public Safety headquarters in an abandoned grocery store on Beaufort Street. This major investment moved many jobs into the neighborhood and by the nature of its mission will serve to make the entire area safer and a more attractive area for new development.

Beyond that, the city of Aiken took an early interest in the federal opportunity zone program that helps to generate investments in our Northside through federal tax benefits.

Stevens: I believe with the way District 1 is laid out that we must work extremely close with the county to bring in industry and business, and my plan is to grow the relationship and help our community grow north to I-20 and to more of the open land with easy access for the citizens in the district to get to and from those careers.

District 1: How will you (or will you?) advocate for growth toward the I-20 corridor?

Diggs: Development of the I-20 corridor is essential to the city of Aiken as a whole and District 1 in particular.

We will be reviewing action plans and cost estimates for expanding the availability of water and sewer at both exits 18 and 22. This should open new areas for residential and commercial development, and bring new residents and new jobs to our city.

We will also work to annex these new areas. The Northside can, and will, be the area where our tax base grows in the future. This will create new opportunities.

Stevens: I believe with the way District 1 is laid out that we must work extremely close with the county to bring in industry and business, and my plan is to grow the relationship and help our community grow north to I-20 and to more of the open land with easy access for the citizens in the district to get to and from those careers.

(Same answer as above.)

District 3: What makes you the most qualified person for the job?

Brecht: My time working in the community has afforded me a broad and diverse set of experiences and has allowed me to meet many people.

I believe that service to the community should be nonpartisan, that sitting on City Council requires I consider each issue individually and respond to each constituent in a fair and objective manner that is beneficial to all, not just a few.

We all share this corner of the world known as Aiken. It is my goal to make it the best it can be.

Klecker: As a CPA and a highly qualified, proactive financial manager, I am adept at identifying both operational and financial opportunities within an organization. This makes me an ideal candidate for Aiken's city council.

My accounting, financial management skills and business experience will benefit the city of Aiken, especially with the economic development challenges the city faces.

Because of my professional background, I can contribute financial and management skills to the current City Council.

Weaver: As a young professional, I feel that it is up to those like myself to set out a future path of positivity for Aiken.

Not all change is positive, but it also is not all negative. I would like the chance to bring a new perspective to the City Council, one which has seen the great things that Aiken can be and has been, countering the stagnation that, in part, it is currently experiencing.

Brohl: I have a strong commitment to our city, and serving our city.

I have served, or continue to serve, on numerous boards, organizations, and committees: State of South Carolina Ethics Commission, Aiken Regional Board of Governors, City of Aiken Planning Commission, Aiken Women's Heart Board, City of Aiken Strategic Planning Committee, Aiken City/County Joint Planning Commission-Overlay District, Hitchcock Healthcare Board of Directors, G.E.M.

District 3: What is the most pressing concern in your district? How will you address it?

Brecht: Improving the West Richland Avenue corridor is the most pressing concern of the third district and the entire city, for that matter. 

Commercial blight scars this gateway to Aiken. With derelict gas stations, pay-day lenders and flophouse hotels, this area has become an eye sore and a center for crime in Aiken. 

Car break-ins and even drugs and prostitution are of concern to Aiken Public Safety.

Klecker: Maintaining neighborhood quality of life is a top concern in my district.

Improvements are essential for the Richland Avenue corridor, poorly maintained properties, and nonconforming use of homes in residential neighborhoods. I would pursue fiscally responsible enhancements to Richland Avenue, increased enforcement of existing property ordinances and stronger ordinances where appropriate.

I would ensure such changes would be implemented with financially sound, common sense financing.

Weaver: For District 3, I feel the most pressing concern we face is infrastructure.

While new fiber lines are run for internet and potholes receive yet another round of patches, our roads are still undersized, parking is lacking, and construction is never-ending. I would enforce contract deadlines, build in penalties for late project milestones, and ensure that parking and right-of-way are more than afterthoughts for proposed projects.

Brohl: Being a part of this community for so long, I see several issues that need addressing. However, the overarching concern as I speak with citizens in the district is safety.

We must ensure that Public Safety has all the resources they need to keep us safe. Also, streamlining the process for a business to start up or grow. We need to attract young people and keep the ones we have. And finally, our crumbling infrastructure.

District 3: Should the city rezone the Waterloo Street area, as was previously proposed? What's your solution?

Brecht: The city should retain the limited professional zoning that exists on Waterloo Street. To change it to limited business will undermine the balance between the LP zone and the surrounding residential neighborhoods.

Strong, safe and quiet neighborhoods are an asset to Aiken. To change it so a few can profit is throwing the baby out with the bath water. Let's clean up Richland Avenue West first before we allow the commercial blight to encroach on Waterloo Street.

Klecker: Rezoning the Waterloo area as previously proposed would have created a quality of life issue for residents in the Waterloo area. They clearly expressed this concern in multiple meetings. Currently these residents have a good relationship with the existing professional businesses on Waterloo.

Had I been a member of the Planning Commission at that time, I would have voted against the rezoning.

I would work to encourage further business development in the close-by downtown business district.

Weaver: While I believe that small business is the lifeblood of any community, I feel that there is an inherent danger in opening the floodgates to just anyone for development, especially amid residential areas.

For every new restaurant or antiquities shop that comes and goes in the downtown area, there are multiples of people looking for private housing around that area.

By zoning the street for business, we are inviting commercial growth, but stunting residential growth.

Brohl: Since the Waterloo Street rezoning issue was scraped by council nearly nine months ago, if it was ever brought up again, it would need to start at the beginning and go through the proper channels again.

After that, we would need to listen to our citizens and their input, as well as remembering that one of the things that makes Aiken so great is the historical residential downtown. We must never impede business and growth, but we also must insure that business and growth does not impede our citizens.

Colin Demarest is the government and Savannah River Site reporter with the Aiken Standard. Follow him on Twitter: @demarest_colin