City council candidates: Lowder 'taking your voice to city council' as he works for re-election

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Myrtle Beach City incumbent candidate Mike Lowder moved to Myrtle Beach from Bennettsville when he was a sophomore in high school.  He grew up on the corner of 5th Ave. North and Maple Street.  After graduating from Myrtle Beach High School, he enlisted in the Marine Corps.   Four years later, he became a police officer for the Myrtle Beach Police Department, and eighteen years later, became chief deputy with the Horry County Sheriff's Office until retirement.

Lowder has served city council for eight years.  He's the former chair of the board of zoning appeals, and is an active member of Forestbrook Baptist Church.

"All my adult life, I've been in public service.  From the time I was in the Marine Corps in 1972, to this day as a retired police officer...I've always been in public service.  I don't look at city council as a job.  I'm not here as a politician.  Most people who know me know that I'm not a politician," Lowder said as to why he should be elected.  "But what I have been and what I continue to be is a public servant.  I love Myrtle Beach, I came here in the summer of 1969 as a sophomore in high school.  The rest of my family moved away, and I stayed.  I stayed for one reason only and that's because I love Myrtle Beach."

Lowder's campaign brochure reads "with your vote, I will continue to work towards reducing crime, improving infrastructure and fostering economic growth."

Lowder on redevelopment

Lowder said he wants to see through zoning changes that will allow for easier re-development.  He hopes to continue financial incentives he's worked on for redevelopment in the SuperBlock, areas between 8th Avenue and 3rd Avenue South and areas between the beach and Business 17.

"When you talk about this area, never before on this council, that I'm aware of...that we've actually offered financial incentives to folks to come in and develop or re-develop...and we made sweeping changes on the zoning in these areas to also entice folks to come in and develop and re-develop in these areas," Lowder said.

Related stances:

- improve drainage and stormwater concerns throughout the city

- continue infrastructure upgrades including water and sewer, roads, sidewalks and bike paths

- develop and redevelop areas in the city to grow our economy and improve quality of life

Accomplishments claimed during tenure:

- improved stormwater drainage and water quality by adding two stormwater outfalls and taking drainage pipes off the beach

- upgraded infrastructure including road resurfacing, sidewalks and underground utilities

- worked to build facilities to grow sports tourism industry

Lowder on public safety

Lowder said he's always looking at how to improve policing.  He stated during his time on council, he's helped utilize new technology and crime analysis to solve and prevent crime, as well as help out officers.  He said his top priority is to make homes and businesses safe.

"Public safety's number one on my agenda.  I have led the charge, so to speak, to improve police presence, to get more boots on the ground, aggressive areas that aggressive enforcement needs to be done.  Now, the strategic plan that's presented to city council by the chief of police, I agree with it, however, I'm willing to go a step further.  To be quite honest with you, I can tell you 20 police officers the first year doesn't hurt my feelings, 20 police officers the second year.  Whatever we can get qualified candidates in here...I'm all for that," he told WMBF News.

related stances:

- continue to provide resources to law enforcement to reduce crime and keep residents and visitors safe

- aggressive enforcement of laws on the boulevard 'boots on the ground'

accomplishments claimed during tenure:

- strengthened law enforcement with 31 new officers and body cameras

- added tag reader cameras at all city intersections

- addressed public safety concerns with adding 800 cameras on Ocean Blvd.

This is the fourth of WMBF News' profiles of Myrtle Beach City Council candidates. The series began Oct. 16, and will run nine days, with the last candidate being profiled Oct. 26.  WMBF News will interview each of the nine candidates in alphabetical order, and will ask the same three questions to each.  Those questions are about re-development, public safety and why he or she should be chosen for city council.  There are three seats open on council.  Councilman Wayne Gray did not file for this coming election.

Here are the air dates for each candidate:

Oct. 16: Ann Dunham

Oct. 17: Matthew Hardee

Oct. 18 Mike Hobeika

Oct. 19 Mike Lowder (incumbent)

Oct. 20 Brooks Myers

Oct. 23 Gregg Smith

Oct 24 Kevin VanWinkle

Oct 25 Jackie Vereen

Oct 26 Randall Wallace (incumbent)

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