Seeking re-election, incumbent Andrews Mayor Frank McClary took to the stage for what was planned to be a mayoral debate on Tuesday, October 15.
Town Council Member, and his opposition for the debate, Terrance Middleton did not show up at the Spirit Filled Ambassadors for Christ Church at 6:30 PM.
Marilyn Hemingway of the Gullah Geechee Chamber of Commerce explained how the debate would have gone should both candidates be present -- two minutes for introductions, starting in alphabetical order, with Mr. McClary going first, followed by Mr. Middleton. Then the debate would open up questions, including questions from the floor. She pointed out she'd like to start on time but it seemed the second candidate, Terrance Middleton, was not there. No explanation was given for his absence.
"We are going to change the format so that you have an opportunity to sit down with your mayor and ask any questions and get them answered," Hemingway said. "So we are going to have some conversations."
Mayor McClary initially took two minutes to introduce himself and thank everyone for coming out.
"Just real quick, you all know me. I am a native of Andrews, born and raised here since 1963. After college, I spent the next 29 years in the Army and I loved every moment of it.
"So where I am is where I am supposed to be," he said. "I do this because I love Andrews and I love the people, there is no other reason."
According to Mayor McClary, if you look back over the last 4 years, a lot of things have changed. "You have to look from the inside out. It's not just me, it's a very strong staff that has worked very hard, a very small staff but they work late hours," he said.
He talked about working with the youth in the community, creating something from the inside. We had a building to turn into a youth and community center, flipping the building but we still have more to do. "We want to keep our kids here," he said.
When asked by Ms. Hemingway if he saw Main Street growing in the future, Mayor McClary said absolutely. "There are some small changes happening right now. We have just applied for a grant to change Main Street."
He also pointed out to increase revenue a Burger King will be up and running in Andrews before the end of the year.
When asked a question about flooding, the audience erupted with laughter. Mayor McClary wanted to know who in the audience asked the question as he volunteered his services and time back in 2015 to be sure Andrews got the services the town needed.
Ms. Hemingway also asked about the progress for a senior citizens center, which Mayor McClary said will include a gym, a track for bicycles and a pool.
Mayor McClary talked about many other things he plans on once the revenue is increased for Andrews. "We've seen some growth, whether two or three, such as O'Reilly's, Burger King, it will generate a lot of the revenue."
A question from the audience concerned getting gas prices in Andrews lowered. The Mayor acknowledged he needs to look into this area more. "We just don't have all the answers right now," he added.
"I am very proud of our staff and all the volunteers that want to help," he said. "We have to work on our attitude and energy."
When asked about improving homes in Andrews, Mayor McClary stated two developers will be discussing how to qualify for a home that residents will own and their credit at this Thursday night's Town of Andrews Town Council Meeting and Town Hall Forum.
Andrews has the potential to be one of the best cities in the state. "We have the infrastructure that big businesses are looking for," he said. "Andrews can be the hub. Andrews is only an hour from everything, an hour from 95, from Charleston and Myrtle Beach. I am confident that more businesses will be coming in here."
"We are going to continue to move Andrews forward," he said, adding "we are going to continue to grow and right now based on your options, I'm your guy."