UNION — The District 2 Union County Council seat is no longer vacant.
The seat has been vacant since the Sept. 28 death of council member Dora Martin-Jennings. Martin-Jennings, who’d held the District 2 seat for 23 years, announced earlier this year that she would not run for reelection.
In the November general election, businessman Frank Hart was elected to the District 2 seat, but his term does not begin until Jan. 2. As a result, the seat remained vacant.
Hart announced Friday evening that he’d been contacted by S.C. District 13 Sen. Shane Martin that Gov. Nikki Haley has appointed him to the District 2 seat. He said this will allow him to represent District 2 for the remainder of Martin-Jennings’ term and participate in Tuesday’s county council meeting.
“I reached out to Shane Martin after the election about his contacting the governor about appointing me to serve the unexpired term of Mrs. Martin,” Hart said. “I felt like it was important that District 2 have representation.
“I look forward to going to work for the district and the county,” he said. “I would like to thank Senator Martin and Governor Haley for their assistance.”
In addition to seeking appointment to the District 2 seat, Hart also recently resigned as president of the Union County Chamber of Commerce. He resigned to avoid any possible conflict of interest because the chamber receives some funding from the county.
Martin said he initiated the appointment process after being contacted by Hart because he also felt the district needed representation.
“I contacted the governor’s office a few weeks ago to get the process started,” Martin said Friday evening. “I felt it would be good to go ahead and let them have some representation prior to January.
“I received the email with the executive order late this afternoon appointing him to the District 2 seat,” he said. “His appointment will only last until his elected term takes over in January.”
Martin said the appointment process was not initiated sooner in order to avoid any conflict with the November election.
In discussing Hart’s appointment, Martin recalled Martin-Jennings service to the community and the kindness she showed him over the years.
“Dora Martin was great to me,” Martin said. “I knocked on her door when I was campaigning. She helped me meet people in Union and was always very nice to me and my family when we met her at events. She was a great lady and did a good job representing council District 2.”
Editor Charles Warner can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 14, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.