Candidate Academy is Nov. 17

By D. C. Moody -

EASLEY — The Greater Easley Chamber of Commerce will host a special event Nov. 17 for those interested in running for public office or learning about the process itself with the event called Candidate Academy.

Cindy Hopkins, president of the Greater Easley Chamber of Commerce, the program was a year in the making and is open to all residents of Pickens County, not just membership of the Chamber organization itself. The idea is to help bring education and awareness to those interested in the process and those intending to run for public office.

“The discussion for a program such as this actually started in November of 2014 when our Public Policy Committee was meeting,” Hopkins said. “It was the first meeting the committee had ever held and was a new idea itself. There was a consensus one of the things we as a chamber work toward and keep an eye on is policy concerning business and helping create a healthy business environment. The committee felt this would be a great way to get people involved and educated.”

The event came about from a twofold process, according to Hopkins.

“We felt it was important for those considering running for office at any level to educate them on the process and resources available and what they could expect if they are indeed elected,” Hopkins said. “The second reason was any citizens who didn’t want to run for elected office but were curious about the election process. We at the Chamber just felt both of these were important to our community and membership.”

The event will be a half day gathering, running from 2:30 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. with specific classes being held to cover varying topics.

Dr. Brian Swords, chairman of the board for the School District of Pickens County, and Rep. Davey Hiott will be on hand to address attendees based on their levels of experience, from a newcomer to experienced perspective. Chip Felkel, a campaign consultant, also will be on hand as will Rick Adkins of Rep. Jeff Duncan’s office.

The Greater Easley Chamber of Commerce has been taking part in policy groups for some time, including the Oconee-Pickens Chamber Coalition, the Upstate Chamber Coalition, and the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce organization, but this is the first occasion in which they have directly designed a program.

“As a business membership organization, we are always looking at policy as it effects our business owners and this program is one way we feel we could be beneficial to our membership which benefits our local community,” Hopkins said. “We are an advocate for business owners and want to help cultivate our business environment but also have the most up to date information on policy as well.”

The event is open to members and non-members alike. The cost is $20. Registration is possible through the Greater Easley Chamber of Commerce website or by contacting the Chamber directly.

By D. C. Moody

Reach D. C. Moody at 864-855-0355.

Reach D. C. Moody at 864-855-0355.

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