'Safety will be first:' Gardner discusses priorities before taking office

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) – Johnny Gardner will take over as Horry County Council chairman in January after winning the June 12 contest against incumbent Mark Lazarus.

Gardner emphasized his main priority once taking office will be public safety and fair treatment of firefighters.

"The priority has always been the same," Gardner said. "From day one, it's always been about first responders. Nothing's changed, and that's not going to change."

He says controlled growth in the county is another item to consider.

"We want the growth, but remember, we want quality of life too," Gardner said. "We just can't be building 900 houses on top of 1,000 houses on top of wetlands without proper infrastructure."

Gardner said the reason he decided to run in the first place is because he heard so many concerns from the people of Horry County, and he wanted to do something about them.

"I go to that [Horry County] courthouse almost every day," Gardner said. "The people that work there trust me. They've expressed their concerns and their frustrations. Like I said earlier, there's a huge disconnect. And they needed somebody to help them. And that's why our campaign was 'Johnny Can Help.'"

Gardner runs a law firm in Conway not far from the courthouse. He says juggling duties as council chairman and an attorney won't be a problem.

"I will not have any worry at all," Gardner said. "This is a part-time job, and I know it takes more than that, and I knew what I was doing when I got into it. I'm looking forward to it. Time will not be a problem."

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