A group of community-based organizations have announced plans to hold a public forum for mayoral candidates in September that will explore issues related to ‘Quality of Life and Quality of Place,’ including the topics of the local economy, the city’s growth, and affordability. Lowcountry Local First, the Preservation Society of Charleston and SC Community Loan Fund have invited all mayoral candidates to participate and share their vision for the future of the city in a fast-paced, concise presentation, followed by moderated discussion and audience Q&A. The forum will be free and open to the public, and held on Wednesday, September 30th, 2015 at the Charleston Music Hall, 37 John St, Charleston, SC 29403 at 5:30pm.

“As the city continues to grow at a rapid rate we need to make sure the next mayor is one that is looking out for the best interest of the existing business owners and community members,” explained Jamee Haley, Executive Director at Lowcountry Local First. “We hope to engage a diverse group of stakeholders in determining who our next mayor will be and provide a forum for the public to hear the candidates discuss themes related to quality of life and quality of place.”

​Livability is a chief interest among the participating organizations. “The upcoming mayoral election occurs at a critical time in Charleston’s history, as both the city and the surrounding region face the opportunities, and challenges, of unprecedented growth. Effective and transparent management will be critical to protecting Charleston’s unique place among cities all over the world, and to maintaining its competitive advantage in the new economy,” says Kristopher King, Executive Director at the Preservation Society of Charleston. “We look forward to engaging the mayoral candidates in the conversation about Charleston’s future.”

Both commercial and residential affordability play a key role in the concerns of the organizations involved. “Since opening our doors ten years ago as the Charleston Housing Trust, we have worked alongside our mayor who has been an advocate for affordable housing and community development, lending his voice, expertise and passion to create opportunity for underserved areas within the city,” says Michelle Mapp, Executive Director at SC Community Loan Fund. “Our hope is that these issues and this vision will remain a priority for the new mayor of Charleston.”

Mayoral candidates that have agreed to participate include: Ginny Deerin, Dick Elliott, Henry Fishburne, John Tecklenburg, and Paul Tinkler. All candidates are invited to participate.

WHO Lowcountry Local First, Preservation Society of Charleston and SC Community Loan Fund

WHAT Vision for the future: Quality of Life and Quality of Place

WHEN Wednesday, September 30th, 2015, 5:30PM

WHERE Charleston Music Hall, 37 John Street, Charleston, SC 29403

HOW Advance registration will be open at a date TBD