No Party Loyalists in District 7 City Council Race – Charleston City Paper

It is hard to paint a political caricature of either candidate for Charleston City Council’s District 7 seat. On the one hand, Robert O’Brien despises the class-warfare rhetoric in the debate over Union Pier but says the lower-income and minority families in his West Ashley district are being slighted when it comes to parks and sidewalks. On the other hand, Keith Waring wants to eliminate obstacles for small businesses but also hails the arrival of Home Depot and Costco in the district.

Such is the nature of local politics, where — if we’re lucky — party lines can dissolve and elected officials can deal with problems on a case-by-case basis. In District 7 — which includes neighborhoods in central West Ashley roughly bound by Savannah Highway, Sam Rittenberg Boulevard, St. Andrews Boulevard, and Interstate 526 — both candidates seem to be more concerned with workaday problems like flooded yards and streets than they are with political gamesmanship.

O’Brien is an Army veteran, retired food broker, and 20-year Charleston resident. He cut his teeth in politics in East Brunswick, N.J., where he served on the Recreation Advisory Board and Turnpike Ad Hoc Committee and was elected Middlesex County Charter Commissioner for a four-year term. In Charleston, he was a member of the community advisory panel for cleaning up coal storage at the Kinder Morgan riverside terminal from 2008 to 2010. He also served on the Republican Committee for St. Andrews.

Waring grew up in what is now District 7, graduating from Middleton High School in 1973 and attending the College of Charleston before transferring to the University of South Carolina to study business finance. He worked for two years in the State House under governors James Edwards and Dick Riley before returning to West Ashley to start a financial planning business, Charlestowne Associates, which he has owned for 29 years. He is the son of District 7 incumbent Louis Waring, who has served on council since 1994 and is retiring from the position at age 83.

Source: No party loyalists in District 7 City Council race – Charleston City Paper

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