Candidate Profile: Jim Wiszowaty, House District 39
Jim Wiszowaty, mayor of Batesburg-Leesville, faces two challengers for the Republican nomination for the S.C. House District 39 seat.
It's a three-way race for the House District 39 seat in western Lexington County and Saluda County.
Three Republicans are running for the seat, which will be left vacant by retiring Rep. Marion Frye. No Democrats are running.
Today, we'll take a look at Batesburg-Leesville Mayor Jim Wiszowaty.
Name: Jim Wiszowaty
Prior experience in public office: Mayor of Batesburg-Leesville for 11 years (2001 to present)
Family: Married to Cheryl for 33 years, five dogs
Education: high school diploma
Why are you running?
I’ve been mayor for 11 years here, and we’ve got about 6,000 people in town. I guess I’ve just got a passion for helping people, and I just want to move up to the next level. I’m just very passionate about helping people and being a public servant.
What are the most important issues you would address if elected?
The hot topics are always the retirement system, education, immigration, the economy — everything you hear on a daily basis. I guess those would be my key points. Being mayor of Batesburg-Leesville and having that hands-on approach every day, I just want to see what the district needs, and most people are saying education, state retirement.
Would you change how District 39 is represented? How?
Having started out as mayor and having that hands-on approach as mayor, one of the big things in my pledge is I’m going to have two offices for constituents. I have an office in Saluda I’ve rented already for my campaign office, so I’ll just turn that into an office for constituents. I’ll have another office in Batesburg-Leesville, and I’ll have these places staffed so that people can go there and actually talk to someone about their concerns. I want to be in touch with my constituents. I don’t want to be up at the State House making decisions without asking them questions.
Have you heard any repeated concerns from residents of District 39?
The biggest concerns in District 39 are economic growth and jobs — growth in the rural areas, all the way from Batesburg-Leesville all the way into Saluda County. From the western edge of Lexington County towards Saluda county, they’re looking for economic growth. Being mayor of Batesburg-Leesville, I’d say it’s a bedroom community. Most people commute to jobs in other areas. They don’t want to lose their small town feel, but I think they’re looking for some sort of manufacturing company so that a lot of these kids can stay around in Saluda County.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I’d just like to point out my “5-Point Pledge.” I’m not taking any money, not taking any retirement, and I do believe in term limits. If I’m elected, I won’t serve more than eight years in the House. I believe you ought to be part of the solution, not the problem. I stopped accepting campaign donations after April 1. I was accepting donations of up to $100, but I decided I didn’t want to do that either. The money I got, I donated to the Wounded Warriors Project. We’ve given almost $2,200 to the Wounded Warriors Project. I didn’t want to get into that where you give me $1,000 and I owe you something if I get elected. If they can get me in there I’m going to be a true public servant.