Two vie for Summerton mayor

Two things are certain about Tuesdays mayoral race in Summerton. First, Summerton will have a new mayor for the first time in eight years. And second, both Donald "Mac" Bagnal and Terrance G. Tindal want to be that person. An event planner by day, Tindal has served on Summerton Town Council since 2010, and says he wants to continue the work begun by outgoing Mayor Jay Bruner. He said he has three targets for the community should he be victorious in Tuesdays race. "One is to partner with the county for infrastructure for the town," Tindal said. "The other is to bring businesses and job opportunities to Summerton. And the final one is to find resources that can help bring programs to our seniors and young people." Bagnal, 26, is a Manning native who grew up in Sumter and who moved to Summerton in 1995. He believes his experience as chapter development director for the South Carolina Waterfowl Association will aid him should voters choose him for the spot. "My annual budget is over $1.5 million, so Im familiar with budgetary concerns and P&L (profit and loss)," he said. "And we raise money for my department, so we work with people all around the state." Bagnal has also served on several local committees and boards, including the Clarendon Hall School Board; as director of the Summerton Athletic Club; and a deacon at Summerton Southern Methodist Church. "I was asked by some council members and local folks who have been in Summerton all their lives to run for council initially," Bagnal said. "About a day later, I met with five or six residents who asked me if I would consider running for mayor."   Tindal said he was also approached by residents. He said those same residents have still been supportive after information came to light that he has both an outstanding bench warrant for driving under suspension in Lee County and owes about $21,500 in ethics fines for failure to file statements of economic interest for three years. The bench warrant was issued in January 2013 for an outstanding driving under suspension ticket, according to the Lee County Clerk of Courts Office. Tindal said he first found out about it when visiting family recently in North Carolina. He said he, too, became aware of the ethics fines just recently when the Ethics Commission notified him about appealing the hefty amount. He said he is currently taking care of both problems. "I was new to the process when (the statements) were filed (in 2010), and did not know exactly how to do it properly," Tindal said, noting he was not aware he had to file the statements during non-election years in 2011 and 2012. "I have made steps to correct it and Im waiting to hear back from the Ethics Commission." Candidates for public office are also required to file the statements; a records check shows Bagnal filed the statement at the time he filed his petition for office. He did not comment on Tindals situation, saying he would only focus on what needs to be done in the town. "I would love to have us develop part of Exit 108 here (off Interstate 95)," Bagnal said. "I want to make tourists stop, maybe not necessarily to get them to Main Street, but to get them to stop and get gas or spend the night or have a bite to eat." "Theyre going to do that anyhow somewhere on Interstate 95, so why not have it be here?" Bagnal continued. Tindal, 30, said he would like to see Bruners vision for the town continue. "He has been an exceptional leader, and he has us going in the right direction," Tindal said. "I want to keep us going in that direction." He said skills acquired from running his own company GeRome and Company and serving as office manager for King-Fields Mortuary in Summerton have helped him become a successful member of Summerton Town Council. "I want to continue using those skills in serving my hometown as mayor," Tindal said. Tindal pointed to projects such as the Village Renaissance Program, which is working to redevelop parts of West Summerton; the iCare2 Bullying Prevention Program; and the Start Now Male Mentoring Program as successful projects in which he has had involvement. Both men said they would like to see Summerton obtain resources that will allow the small town to attract tourists as it once did in the heyday of U.S. 301. "Its all about marketing ourselves," Tindal said. "We need to go out there and do what these other small towns do who are able to cultivate business and get those businesses that attract families and vacationers." Tindal said while he knew running for mayor was a bit risky he will lose his seat on council regardless he felt the need to step up and "carry Bruners torch." "My sole concern is with how my hometown is run, and I believe that I can help guide the town in the right direction," he said. Bagnal, who is admittedly new to politics, said he would rely heavily on Bruners counsel should he win. "Jay is a friend, and I would definitely seek his advice," Bagnal said. "I would go to him both as a friend and as someone who knows that Jay, even though he wont be mayor again, is someone who cares deeply about this community. Hes in this for the long haul."


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