Sumter City Council Ward 4 has a new candidate running for its seat in this year's election.
Mark Dingle, a veteran and 30-year resident of the north side of Ward 4, said he decided to run in an effort to unite the City of Sumter.
"As one united Sumter, we together of the people, by the people and for the people are in quest of a more solid expectation of peace and tranquility for all again, not just for some," Dingle said. "I am running for city council because I am from Ward 4, and I know the changes that need to be implemented."
Though he has no government experience or community involvement, Dingle said he received the ability and character of leading from his military service, and with what he learned from that, he wants to advance Sumter's "fine and potential future."
"I am eager to learn and express my thoughts and opinions and volunteer my time to the community at every opportunity," Dingle said. "I truly want, need and wish to be your friend, servant and future representative to produce a more successful tomorrow for us and our children's happy and secure futures."
Dingle said he is a familiar face in the community and that he is one who hears and feels the needs of the people.
With the world's current events, Dingle wants people to "care and do the right thing toward their fellow man who are designed to be examples for our children's better awareness."
"In reference toward the betterment of current and future aspirations and goals, we must live our lives with the knowledge of truth and faith," Dingle said.
Dingle said his philosophy and theory of solving the conditions and well-being of Sumter children's happiness and mental capacity as parents, young adults and senior citizens is as follows: relaxation (fun), recreation (activity) and occupational therapy (study).
He said council members need help with promoting knowledge, care and awareness of the Sumter community.
If elected, Dingle said he wants to conduct a town hall meeting every three months so the public can voice its opinions and concerns to elected officials other than during public comment in a council meeting.
"I will mention and bring to the awareness of our mayor and council ways to solidify happiness and joy," Dingle said. "I propose to implement my thoughts and ideas to celebrate all and every holiday throughout the city. Also, I will suggest we have an amusement park all year long."
Dingle said he'd also like to see more neighborhood cookouts and block parties regulated by local law enforcement to ensure the Sumter community is fun and safe.
"Knowing this, we as the people will be better informed and prepared to accept a more relaxed atmosphere of joy and peace," Dingle said. "These are some of my planned thoughts and ideas."
Dingle also wants to address the following additional issues for better living: overhaul the sewer system, upgrade low-cost housing and modernize the bus system for public transportation.
"A vote for me is a vote for future progress, respect, care and much love. United we stand; together we grow! Including 18-year-old voters, who yearn for much love and respect," Dingle said. "Let's be heard and also noticed. A vote for me is a vote for us, and a vote for us is a vote for friends, family and community. God bless everyone!"
Dingle is a high school graduate with one semester of college studying business administration at Morris College. He went into the armed forces and served in the Army National Guard and U.S. Navy.
Filing closes Aug. 17 at noon, and the filing fee is $240 for council seats. Any registered voter who lives in Ward 4 - the city's historic district and downtown Sumter with borders spanning Liberty Street between North Guignard Drive and North Lafayette Drive, East Charlotte Avenue and Bagnal Drive to encircle Crosswell Drive Elementary School to up near U.S. 378 and either side of Broad Street just past Willow Drive Elementary School - can vote. Elections for city council's Ward 2, 4 and 6, mayor and the school board's Seat 5, 6 and 7, all nonpartisan races, will be held as part of the general election on Nov. 3.
Dingle faces incumbent Councilman Steve Corley, who is seeking a second term.
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