I want to take this space to thank Mayor Joe McElveen for the outstanding job he has done as mayor of our city for many years. Although he and I are polar opposites in national politics, he has been my friend for many years. When you look around Sumter to see the progress we have made under his leadership, it is amazingly good. He has been a leader in establishing first-class parks and recreation centers in Sumter. Dillon Park, Hampton Park, Patriot Park, the tennis center and aquatic center are all examples. These parks and recreation venues serve every age, race and gender in our community. These places can lead to happier and healthier people. Downtown Sumter has been and is being revitalized under his watch.
Mayor McElveen has been a low-key, uncontroversial behind-the-scenes worker for our city. One of Joe's gifts is that he is a true listener. Whether he agrees with you or not, he will look at you and give you his full attention. He truly hears the people of Sumter who speak to him. He practices the virtue of "quick to listen and slow to speak."
Mayor McElveen attends all of the meetings he is supposed to attend, but he never makes himself the center of attention. If he is required to speak, he always thanks others who have made his job easier and more successful.
I am sad that I can no longer support him as mayor, but I will continue to support him as a friend. The new mayor would be wise to seek his counsel.
Joe, through your leadership, you have smoothed out a lot of bumps in these tumultuous times we live in. Best wishes in your new adventures.
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