It is with a great deal of humility and sincere appreciation that I want to thank you for electing me to represent you on Richland County Council for the past four years. Next to serving my country, it has been an incredible honor and privilege to represent and protect your interests on Council.
After much discussion with my family and loved ones, I have decided not to run again for County Council and will complete my term of service that expires in December.
This was a difficult decision to make, but one made easier knowing the projects I fought hard for - construction of a new 911 operations center, construction of a new DSS facility, working to reform the County's hospitality tax system to truly reward projects that bring tourism to Columbia, and continuing to support the work of our County's economic development director - have borne fruit that will benefit County residents for years to come.
It was also important to me to bring ethical reform to County Council at a time when trust in that body was low. Working with key partners in law enforcement, media and County government, we were able to expose criminal fraud that was occurring through the illegal use of County credit cards by Councilmembers and helped bring critical oversight and new policies to that program to eliminate future fraud, waste and abuse.
I do intend to continue to pursue opportunities to serve this City, County and State in whatever capacity I can. The need for ethical leadership, fiscal responsibility and government accountability remains strong, and I will be seeking a seat or platform from which I can effect the most positive change possible and support projects and legislation that ensure the best possible economic and educational outcome for families and children for years and years to come.
Joe Walker III