“Mount Pleasant is a town of peaceful, home-loving people, blessed through the ages with contentment. It has been said that the place is more than just a town; it is a state of mind.”

So wrote Petrona Royall McIver in her book, History of Mount Pleasant South Carolina published in 1960. Nearly six decades later, it’s doubtful that Ms. McIver would recognize her beloved village, founded by English settlers in 1680 just across the Cooper River from the Holy City. While preservation of the town’s rich heritage and small town appeal seemed a top priority when Mount Pleasant first entered its “growth spurt” during the 1980s (resulting in the doubling the town’s population between 1990 and 2000, a population that continues to trend upward), each successive ribbon cutting of multi-family complexes and high-density neighborhoods has many wondering if the “Mount Pleasant state of mind” of yesteryear will survive the 21st century.

As the mayoral race heats up in the final days of the 2017 campaign season, one candidate for mayor of the Town of Mount Pleasant stands out; he is Town Councilman Will Haynie. Mr. Haynie has stood at the forefront of town issues through his witty and poignant op-ed columns in local newspapers; and through his involvement as a private citizen, family man and local businessman. As much as he has written about public policy, he has also written many articles on sailing; he has an appreciation for nuance and those things that make the area unique. He’s a firm believer that the spirit of the Mount Pleasant he knew as a boy is worth preserving and passing down to generations to come.

Born in Greenville, S.C., Mr. Haynie moved in 1966 with his family to Mount Pleasant where he spent a happy childhood playing in the Old Village and walking to Pitt Street Pharmacy for their legendary Cherry Cokes. Teachers at East Cooper School were the first to recognize Mr. Haynie’s natural leadership abilities and thrust him into the role where he thrived. After moving to Sumter with his family where he graduated high school, Mr. Haynie eagerly returned to the area to attend The Citadel where he rose to regimental commander, the highest cadet rank; was elected commander of the Summerall Guards; and was awarded the Palmetto Medal, the highest award for leadership and principle that can be conferred on a cadet by the college.

After earning a degree in business administration in 1983, Mr. Haynie went on to embrace a number of leadership roles throughout his career. He points with pride to his service in several non-profit organizations including the Lowcountry Land Trust and the South Carolina Maritime Foundation. Though he isn’t opposed to controlled growth, his naturally animated and up-beat personality takes on a somber quality when he talks about the stands of trees along Mount Pleasant by-ways that have been clear-cut to make room for more growth–growth, he claims, that will further stress an already over-burdened infrastructure. Mr. Haynie strongly advocates for changing the town’s tree ordinances — including the buffer requirements and tree mitigation policy — believing that the wholesale elimination of so much of the natural ecosystem de-nudes the distinctive Lowcountry character of the town.

Mr. Haynie’s campaign slogan, “New leadership. New direction,” hints at his underlying approach of taking a breath, stepping back and remembering the history, heritage and preservation of natural resources that have allowed Mount Pleasant’s unique state of mind to thrive for more than 300 years. He says that creating a sound comprehensive plan for growth has never been a problem for Town Council. The problem lies in sticking with it, by not succumbing to the many requests from developers and builders to increase densities and expand buildings. Holding the line takes leadership — the kind of leadership Mr. Haynie brings to the table.

In the role of mayor of the fourth largest municipality and one of the state’s fastest-growing areas, it’s no secret that Mr. Haynie hopes to preserve a piece of the town Ms. McIver knew and loved. He holds the perspective of a local sailor who enjoys the race but knows the immense value of the backdrop that is our gem that must be protected; indeed, we believe Mr. Haynie will be an accessible, gracious, thoughtful and determined mayor capable of steering Mt. Pleasant into a safe harbor.

Mercury newspaper racks are located at the following locations:

The Meeting Street Inn

Clair's Service Station at 334 Folly Rd.

Harris Teeter on Houston-Northcutt Blvd.

The Square Onion in I'On

Mt. Pleasant Library on Mathis Ferry Rd.