Mount Pleasant Magazine Jan/Feb 2022

42 www. ReadMPM. com | www.MountPl easantMagaz i ne. com | www.MountPl easantPodcas t . com today in government is compromise. I did that in law enforcement, and it’s still left in me. I can bring that.” As a long-time resident, the biggest change Ritchie has seen in the town is affordable housing. He has witnessed it first-hand with his adult daughter, a young professional, who “wants to live here but can’t afford to.” “We’ve got to get the stigma off of the term ‘affordable’ housing. It’s not simply low-income housing but rather, attainable housing,” he noted. When it comes to promoting small business, Ritchie explained, “We have to look at lower impact fees; are we pricing businesses out? And we must streamline the process of getting their permits and approval so they can get up and running quickly. We also need to see if they fit into the footprint, not just aesthetically, but how they will give back to the community with jobs and services.” During his tenure as top cop, Mount Pleasant was recognized as one of the safest towns in the country. “People don’t feel unsafe or worried about a cop harassing them on the street here. Public safety is important, but so is mental health. How can we be a part of it?” Ritchie serves on the Council’s Public Services Committee, the Police, Legal and Judicial Committee, the Transportation Committee and chairs the Fire Committee. The other rookie on Council is businessman John Iacofono. He serves on the Economic Development Committee, where he believes his professional experience will benefit not only small businesses but their employees. He cites his success in growing his catering business — with only one chef and $90 capital — to one that’s nationally known with 85 employees. Encouraging small business isn’t his sole focus. Cultural arts and senior citizens are also in his vision. Iacofano chairs the Education Committee and the Accommodations Tax Advisory Board. As the father of three, he believes that more parks and the programs they provide will offer needed opportunities for families, adding, “We need to create amenities around neighborhoods to lessen traffic.” His vision includes rehabbing existing properties when possible: “Let’s work with what we have rather than tear up land and trees. But what can we do to create a downtown area where we can park and walk? Where is our downtown?” Iacofano is not averse to looking at successes in other communities for ideas. “It’s not our job to be the smartest in the room, but it is our job to get the smartest people into the room,” he said. Iacofano has lived in Mount Pleasant for 20 years. “We are at a turning point, and we have to get ahead of it. We can’t just be reactive. We can’t one day allow something, then not allow it, and so on – we have to be proactive and look 25 years down the road and backfill it the right way. We must have steady change, rather than constantly changing.” A returning member of Council is former attorney Guang Ming Whitley, first elected four years ago. One of her most prominent initiatives thus far has been the creation of the Settlement Communities Task Force. With the massive development of the town, many traditional Black communities have been marginalized or faced complete eradication. Whitley feature Car l R i tch i e. John I acofono.