‘Serving this city is in my heart’: Benton excited to fill vacated council seat in Conway

Published: Jun. 29, 2023 at 8:47 PM EDT
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CONWAY, S.C. (WMBF) - Conway City Council is welcoming a new coworker, coming after a special runoff election held Tuesday.

Autry Benton won the special Conway City Council runoff election by 34 votes. He said service is the reason he ran.

“I love Conway and I want to serve. You know, serving this city is in my heart,” said Benton.

Now, Benton has been given that chance. Coming on the heels of beating his opponent, Kendall Brown, garnering 760 votes. He credits that win, in large part, to listening to voters.

“You know, I’ve learned in this campaign to hush my mouth and listen. To truly listen,” said Benton.

Benton’s new seat has been open for three months after former councilman, Alex Hyman, resigned in March. He resigned to become a circuit court judge in South Carolina. Because of that, Benton said he was ready to work.

“I would like to focus in on and build my relationships and letting the town know who I am,” said Benton. “Certainly as a councilman you work with other councilmembers. Let them get to know and trust me. Let the staff know and trust me. Let the people of Conway know and trust me.”

But, he said, there is an important policy to focus on as well.

“Good quality of life in Conway, which we have. This is a wonderful place to live. Conway is great,” said Benton. “Public safety, you know, we’ve got a great chief of police and a great chief of fire. But just supporting them and continuing to make it better, to make sure Conway is a safe place for our citizens to be.”

Benton also had this message for his constituents.

“Even if we disagree on an issue, that doesn’t mean I’m not for you. We can disagree. We can still be friends. We can still be neighbors. And I’ll still serve you,” said Benton.

Benton will be sworn in as a council member during the July 17 City Council meeting.

Benton will have to run for this seat again in November, which he says he’s planning to do.