Councilmember Alfred Mae Drakeford, Camden, S.C.
What you should know about my city... Camden is a lively community, a place surrounded by history. We are a place of beauty where the land provides for equestrian and our legendary sporting lifestyles that have attracted people here for two hundred years. We are a growing place where our residents and visitors alike can enjoy life with kind and gracious people. Like our great Palmetto State, we are a place of many walks of life: young and old, black and white, native-born and from places far away. And yet, it is here we have chosen to call home. Here, where the stories of centuries past still echo; here where living is comfortable and easy. Camden is a great place to live and work because of our heritage and because our future offers opportunity and potential. We invite everyone to experience the pace of South Carolina's oldest inland city, and discover the warmth of our diverse cultures. I welcome everyone to discover Camden - the place we call home.
I ran for office because... I wanted to make a difference.
While in office I would like to accomplish... I would like to help the city build a downtown hotel. Camden's current compliment of hotels comprises several nice "express hotels" - with easy access to our key transportation arteries - on the outer fringes of city center. However, with growing visitor, tourist, corporate and group travelers to our area, Camden does not have the capacity to accommodate the growth with the existing product. We need one or two more hotels, and I believe a well-positioned full-service/boutique hotel in the city center will not only increase our accommodations capacity but also serve as an anchor for downtown visitors to shop, dine and browse the many attractions and tourism destinations we have in place in the downtown area. The hotel will increase the "bustle", if you will, of all the activity that is expanding in our market. There will always be a customer base for in and out travelers at express hotels. The hotel downtown I envision would be an "attraction" in itself, well located to enable the visitor to Camden to experience all that we have within walking distance.
My goals as an elected officials for this year are...
• Increase visitors to the city by developing a thriving downtown and advertising the great amenities we have to offer
• Develop an African American Heritage Corridor Tour and Brochure
• Pursue a 2015 Tiger Grant to fund the completion for the Road Diet to make the City a walkable community
• Continue improvements for water, sewer and road infrastructure
The best advice I ever received was... Represent all of the people. You can't pick and choose who to work with, represent all.
My advice for other local leaders... You must become involved in the community; the community needs you to not only be responsive to the needs of the City such as water, sewer, road infrastructure, but also keeping up the appearance by staying attune to the amenities that beautify and bring visitors to your city. Also before you decide that you want to become a local leader, visit council meeting, visit Board and Commission meetings and read past meeting minutes; this will give you a good idea about what is involved in the position.
Also remember you must be the voice of those who have no voice and it should not be about the money because there is none.
My favorite part of my job is... The people, and seeing how people can make a difference.
Why should cities join the National League of Cities? To sit in on meetings, and to learn about the organization and national issues.
In one word, NLC is... Networking.