Brannon launches campaign for S.C. House

Published 7:45 pm Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Former Landrum Mayor Doug Brannon has decided its time for him to return to public office.
About 12 years after he stepped down as mayor to pursue a law career, Brannon announced Tuesday that he is running as a Republican candidate for S.C. House District 38 in next years election.
The House seat is currently held by Republican Joey Millwood, who last year edged incumbent Republican Bob Walker in the primary. Walker has said he does not plan to run again for the seat in 2010.
After Walker was unseated, Brannon made a late effort to launch a write-in campaign but could not get enough signatures to get on the ballot. Millwood went on to defeat Democratic opponent Mark Chambers in the fall.
Brannon, 48, announced his candidacy on Tuesday evening at the Spartanburg County School District One offices in Campobello before about 30 people.
Brannon, an attorney and partner in the Turnipseed & Brannon law firm, was joined by his family, including his wife Tracey&bsp;and their four children.
Also joining him were his parents, Norm and Marion Brannon, who owned and operated Brannons Restaurant for years. Doug Brannon said his experience working at the restaurant and watching his parents provided important life lessons.
“I learned from my parents that hard work got things done and you should never spend more than you have,” said Brannon. “I watched my dad and helped him fix things that needed repair. I learned how to deal with the public and a large staff of employees. I learned when to speak and when to listen.”
Believing&bsp;such experience and his education prepared him to help tackle the problems facing Landrum, Brannon ran for Landrum City Council in the early 1990s and was elected. Two years later he was elected mayor and he served in that position for the next four years.
Brannon pointed out Monday that the city made significant improvements while he was in office, but he shared the credit, saying city officials, employees, businesses in the city and Landrum residents worked together to make the changes.
Before he was elected he said the city had many vacant businesses and the city government had old, broken down equipment, poor facilities and low morale among employees. The city also had problems with its police and fire departments and faced difficulties with its water and sewer systems.
Six years later, he says, the city had only one empty business and the city government had made significant progress.
“We had a newly-renovated city hall, a beautiful new fire station with two new fire trucks,” he said. “The police department had new equipment, better morale and higher wages. The water and sewer system were being operated by professionals and new lines were being installed. The city had money in the bank and tax revenues were up while tax rates our citizens paid had not be increased significantly.”
If elected to the S.C. House, Brannon said he will be “a staunch supporter of our public schools.” The issue may be a point of difference with Millwood, who has emphasized his concerns about performance in the public schools and his support of tax credits for people who want to send their children to private schools.
“I will work tirelessly,” Brannon said, “to help the teachers of this state with their classroom needs, to help them focus on teaching and lift from them the worries of security and the other administrative duties that have been put up on them.”
Brannon also said he will work to help higher education in the state focus on the changing needs of employers in South Carolina.
He said he will introduce and support legislation to create new jobs in District 38 and the rest of the state, and he will support measures that promote “the creation of more small businesses and fight tirelessly to make sure we dont overtax them or run them out of business.”
Brannon said he wants to return the state to a level of “fiscal responsibility that all of the citizens of this great state can be proud of.”