2019-01-11 / News

Richland County conducts picking of the seats

By Mike Cox

The first Richland County Council meeting of 2019 held Tuesday, January 8 consisted of electing a chair and vice chair for the coming year and the much anticipated picking of the seats.

Paul Livingston was elected chair of the 2019 Richland County Council by a 10-1 vote, after a motion to elect Chip Jackson failed to pass. Former Chair Joyce Dickerson cast the only dissenting vote. Dalhi Myers was elected to serve as vice chair without opposing votes.

During the picking of the seats, and after Livingston and Myers were seated in the center of the council’s half circle, Dickerson chose the seat at the far right of the group, as viewed by spectators. Jim Manning moved into the adjacent seat to Dickerson. Gwen Kennedy moved one seat over into the place held by Livingston for over a decade. Bill Malinowski moved to the far left of the circle. Chip Jackson now occupies the seat adjacent to the vice chair. Myers and Vivian McBride remained in their seats from last year.

New council member Chakisse Newton chose the seat next to Manning, and Allison Terracio picked the seat next to her. Joe Walker III, last in the rotation, was assigned the chair between Malinowski and McBride, whether he likes it or not.

There are three new members for the 2019 edition of the Richland County Council.

Chakissa Newton will represent District 11 for the council, after defeating long time council member Norman Jackson in the Democratic Primary and Zoe Pruitt Owen in the General Election.

Newton was born in the Lower Richland area 43 years ago to parents vested in the idea of community. Her mother was in the banking industry, and her father was a musician. Newton says she got interested in politics because of the contentious issues nationally and felt like no one was paying attention to what was happening in Richland County.

As the owner of Cardinal Marketing, Newton brings a fresh outlook to local politics and hopes to influence change for the better. County Council needs “more collegiality, more collaboration, and a diversity of experiences,” Newton said before the election.

She has been married to John Lowry, an Army veteran and local photographer for 19 years. They have two sons, Max and Luke.

Allison Terracio, a Democrat, was elected to represent the Fifth District, replacing Seth Rose, who is moving to the State Legislature. Terracio was born in Trenton, KY. and brought those small town values with her to the Midlands after a detour to New York. She got interested in politics after seeing a woman push a baby carriage down the street in Shandon, where she currently lives with her husband, Nate, and son, Van.

Nate is a Midlands native and explained to Allison that the woman pushing the baby carriage in the street was avoiding the sidewalks because of the disrepair associated with them. Terracio came from a family of civic minded people. Her great uncle was a local magistrate in Kentucky. The combination helped her decide to run for the District 5 seat. Terracio works in the financial service industry and also teaches yoga.

Joe Walker III is a business owner and Midlands native who decided to get involved with local politics when he began to notice a lack of responsibility and transparency to Richland taxpayers in some council decisions. When local legend Greg Pearce announced his retirement in the fall of 2018, the decision to run became easier. Walker, who is a Republican, was unopposed.

Walker calls himself a “serial entrepreneur” and owns several different businesses to prove the point. While his diverse holdings give evidence of his abilities, he credits his time in the military for honing his political capabilities.

A graduate of Hammond School, Walker was attending Wofford College when when the planes hit the Twin Towers. He marched into the ROTC office the following morning and asked what he could do for his country. Walker says he left his narcissism behind that day and replaced it with patriotism.

He served tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, gaining a Bronze Star and Purple Heart. He and his wife, Haley, have three sons.

Joyce Dickerson, Calvin “Chip” Jackson, Gwendolyn Kennedy, Paul Livingston, Yvonne Mc- Bride, Bill Malinowski, Jim Manning, Dalhi Myers, Chakissa Newton, Allison Terracio, and Joe Walker III attended the meeting. More detailed information as well as complete agendas and minutes from past meetings can be found at the Richland County website: www.rcgov.us.

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