HILTON HEAD VOTERS HAVE A DIVERSE CHOICE OF CANDIDATES FOR NEXT MAYOR
Hilton Head Island residents will choose among some familiar names — and some new ones, including a self-described Holocaust revisionist — when they head to the polls Nov. 6 to select the town’s next mayor. And all the candidates are touting positions that in one way or another focus on the island’s future.
The following candidate profiles were compiled from a variety of sources including interviews and information found on websites or blogs.
KIM LIKINS, 57, a two-term member of Hilton Head Town Council, said regional partners are key to the continued successof the town and itsquality of life. As mayor, she said she would focus on a comprehensive solution for workforce issues, building on the town’s reputation as an environmental steward, preserving the Gullah community, and elevating the town’s historical and cultural assets. Likins is currently director of the Boys & Girls Club of Hilton Head Island. Previously, she spent 20 years in management and executive sales at McKesson Corp. and also is the writer and publisher of two children's books. The Salisbury, North Carolina, native is a graduate of the University North Carolina. She has lived on Hilton Head for 24 years.
JOHN J. MCCANN, 77, has been a member of Hilton Head Town Council since 2101 and has lived on the island since 1999. His top issues, in no particular order, are replacing and repairing the bridges that connect Hilton Head and the mainland, as well as widening roads on both sides of the bridges; fiscal responsibility; workforce development, including repurposing existing empty commercial space for housing and improving transportation to and from the island; and the environment. McCann has 44 years of experience in the financial services industry.
ROCHELLE WILLIAMS, 53, ran for mayor in 2014. She said she decided to run again because she wants to see infrastructure projects, such as sewer and drainage, completed before the town moves forward with new development. A native Islander, Williams also said finding a resolution to the heirs property issue and building affordable housing for low-income workers are priorities. Williams is chairwoman of the nonprofit 12 Jewels, which mentors children in life skills, etiquette, mannerism, critical thinking and goal setting.
ALAN PERRY, 53, sales manager for SunTrust Mortgage, is promoting change and a return to Hilton Head’s traditions. He said that change will come in looking out for the best interests of the community, rather than how current leaderships focuses on its own visions and goals for the town, he said. Perry embraces using the vision of the town’s original developers — tradition — as a road map for the island’s future. As mayor, he says he will tout fiscal responsibility and accountability; community stewardship; and quality of life. Perry moved to the island in 1975 and has spent the past 13 years working on the expansion of the Island Recreation Center.
BARRY GINN is an associate broker with Re/Max Island Realty. He did not provide any information about his candidacy by press time. One profile of Ginn tells how he nearly died from a flesh-eating disease—necrotizing fasciitis. It also talks about his close relationship with his rescue dog, Romeo. Ginn, who is from Varnville, according to his Facebook profile, has more than three decades of experience in real estate.
SANDON JAMES PRESTON did not provide information about his candidacy by press time. He is reported to be a waiter living on the south end of the island and has a list of items he wants to focus on as mayor including: installing solar-powered lights on island bike paths; implementing stricter enforcement of speed limits; starting an island-wide recycling program and continuing the no-straw program year-round; and charging tourists for beach parking while beginning a free-parking program for residents.
MICHAEL SANTOMAURO, 59, is a self-described free speech advocate/full-time blogger and publisher. He uses his blog as a forum to promote the views of writers and speakers who question the Holocaust and opine on other controversial topics — many related to Israel and the Middle East. Santomauro bills himself as the anti-growth candidate. As mayor, he said, he would call for a three- or four-year moratorium on new commercial and residential construction; a re-evaluation or re-engineering of island traffic flow; and 100 percent transparency of all town meetings. Santomauro lives on Hilton Head and is originally from New York.