New Ridgeway councilman takes oath of office

By Lucas Vance lvance@civitasmedia.com

April 15, 2014

FAIRFIELD COUNTY — Ridgeway Town Council has officially welcomed a new council member.

Following Fairfield County Election Commission’s meeting on Friday, Heath Cookendorfer won one of two available seats with 43 write-in votes to Belva Bush’s 41.

Debbie Stidham, director of Fairfield County Voter Registration and Elections, said the election commission met and determined that 43 of the original 47 write-in votes had “voter’s intent” to elect Cookendorfer.

The election commission members are Chairman Betty M. Trapp, Vice Chairman Carolyn Y. Prioleau, John H. Glenn Sr., Deane H. Smith, Alice H. Rice, Robert D. Drake and Thomas B. Chase.

After running for council twice previously, with no success, Cookendorfer will sit on council for the first time.

The number of votes fell just short of the percentage that would have required a mandatory recount.

Mandatory recounts are required when there is a 1 percent difference of the total number of votes between candidates.

There were two seats to be filled and Russ Brown took the first seat with 98 votes, which led the field.

Mayor Charlene Herring easily won her third term with 91 votes to Bush’s 27.

Town Hall said that Herring, Brown and Cookendorfer took their oath of office April 11, when they were sworn in by Judge E.G. Palmer VI.

Cookendorfer, 42, is originally from Alexandria, Ky., and has lived in Ridgeway for 10 years. He is currently working at Computer Sciences Corporation in Blythewood.

Cookendorfer was previously serving as the chairman for the Board of Zoning Appeals in Ridgeway and hopes that experience will soften the learning curve when dealing with town business.

“Ridgeway is a small town and I think serving on boards helps people to learn who you are,” he noted. “My wife and I have actually been on boards since we moved here 10 years ago. I think people and your neighbors get to know who you are and it probably helped out a lot that people knew who I was and just being a part of the town and actually wanting to continue improving the town with what the existing council has done and the vision of Mayor Herring.”

Herring believes Ridgeway will be in good hands with its new council member.

“I always believe that a community needs to get younger people involved in leadership and service,” she stated.

Over half of Ridgeway’s registered voters showed up to the ballot box last Tuesday, which is percentage that Herring was elated to announce.

“I’m just so proud of the citizens who came out and voted and showed their support of government,” she said.

Cookendorfer will attend his first meeting as a councilman on May 8.