Businessman announces challenge of Devine for At-Large council seat | News
Businessman Tommy Burkett has announced his candidacy for Columbia City Council. He is challenging incumbent Tameika Isaac Devine for the At-Large seat in this November's election.
Burkett filed for the election on August 26. Devine filed on August 8.
Burkett is the owner and founder of Burkett Systems, a Columbia-based electrical contracting firm. He's a past president of the Mechanical Contractors Association of South Carolina.
Burkett is also chairman of the North Columbia Business Association, an organization he helped found.
"Columbia is a special place to me, and my roots here -- particularly in the Eau Claire community -- run deep," Burkett said. "I want to keep Columbia a special place for future generations, so that they're blessed with the same opportunities I've been blessed with."
A graduate of Columbia's Citizens Police Academy, Burkett says public safety will be his primary focus. (He is president of Columbia’s Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association.
This is a letter Burkett posted on his website:
I've recently made an important decision, and I wanted you to be among the first to know: I've decided to run for Columbia City Council in this November's election. I'll be seeking an at-large (city-wide) Council seat.
I’m writing to tell you a little bit about myself and why I’m running.
I've always believed in doing my part to improve the quality of life in my hometown. Columbia is a special place to me, and my roots here -- particularly in the Eau Claire community -- run deep. I want to keep Columbia a special place for future generations, so that they're blessed with the same opportunities I've been blessed with.
I've never been afraid to roll up my sleeves and work hard to serve my neighbors. For example, I'm proud to have worked alongside several other community leaders to create the North Columbia Business Association, a citizen-led effort to help revitalize the North Main Street corridor and create a brighter future for the people of the area. (I serve as the association’s chairman.)
I continue to own and operate Burkett Systems, the family-run electrical contracting business I started 42 years ago. I’m proud to say that, over the years, Burkett Systems has become highly-regarded for performance and professionalism. (It is because of this solid reputation that I was elected as 2004-05 state president of the Mechanical Contractors Association of South Carolina.)
I believe public safety is our most important challenge, and even as a private citizen I’ve worked to make our streets safer. I’m a graduate of the Columbia Police Department’s Citizens Police Academy, and I currently serve as president of Columbia’s Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association. (It's probably also worth mentioning that I led the successful effort to install crime surveillance cameras in the Eau Claire community -- and helped secure private funding to pay for them -- which has helped reduced crime and made our streets safer.)
As a candidate for City Council, my only goal is to make a meaningful contribution to a city I love.
Columbia faces tremendous challenges. Truly meeting these challenges will take hard work, hands-on leadership, and a willingness to put politics aside and focus improving the lives of ordinary citizens. I believe I'm up to the challenge.
Unlike a lot of politicians, I'll admit upfront that I don't have all the answers. No one does. But I WILL always listen to the views of those I serve, provide hands-on leadership (instead of merely "passing the buck") and focus on the issues that truly impact people's lives. And I'll work hard every day to make you proud.
As I embark on this journey, I'd be honored to have your support. And any help you can give -- whether it's financial assistance, volunteer effort, or simply offering an encouraging word -- is deeply appreciated.
Thank you for taking the time to read this note. I look forward to hearing from you.
Devine is the first African-American female to serve on city council and the first African-American to be elected to the At-Large.
She is a founding partner in the law firm of Jabber & Isaac, PA, where she practices in the areas of real estate, probate and business transactions. She is also an adjunct law professor at the University of Phoenix. Mrs. Devine is a graduate of Spring Valley High School.