Three questions with Miriam Hair, new executive director of the Municipal Association of SC
You have a long history with the Association. What do you see as its vision for the future?
The Municipal Association has always been focused on helping South Carolina’s cities and towns come together to realize their visions and reach their respective goals. Building and maintaining great places to call home does not just happen. It takes the vision and hard work of local elected leaders working closely with residents and businesses. As their visions change and challenges arise, the Municipal Association offers services that support these visions and help meet these challenges.
We do that locally by helping elected leaders and city staff be as effective as they can be through training and other services. We also do that on the state level by working with state leaders who share our vision that strong cities are the backbone of a strong state.
What do you see as the Association’s role as the voice for South Carolina cities and towns in the state’s competitiveness efforts?
As we see our state’s leadership moving forward together to support a more competitive South Carolina, we know that strong cities and towns are the core of this effort. The Association is focused on building relationships around the state with organizations that share our vision of building competitive cities and towns.
This is why earlier this year I announced Reba Campbell would serve as our deputy executive director. Reba’s 20-year career in governmental affairs, communications and management at the state and federal level make her uniquely qualified to assist us in building partnerships with organizations that share similar goals. She is always looking for opportunities to listen and make the connection with other people and organizations that share the vision of cities and towns as hubs of economic growth in our state.
With the recent economic downturn, do you see people finding a renewed interest in their hometowns?
Absolutely. As South Carolinians are increasingly impacted by the weak economy, they will look to their elected leaders closest to home for help. As gas prices rise, the leaders in our cities and towns will be asked to provide more public transportation. When traffic increases because of sprawl, residents will look to our revitalized downtowns and in-town neighborhoods as safe places to live and work. I also believe residents will look to cities and towns more than ever to provide amenities like parks and playgrounds that increase the quality of life and the feeling of community.
Municipal officials understand this sense of community and the quality of the physical space in our hometowns are critical to the future of South Carolina. I believe business and community leaders understand this connection as well. Working together, we can build a competitive South Carolina with our cities and towns as a common strength.
The Municipal Association of South Carolina is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit Association of incorporated cities and towns dedicated to raising the standards of municipal government through a broad range of services.
For more information, go to http://www.masc.sc/.