Delegates at the Municipal Association of South Carolina's 73rd Annual Meeting unanimously elected Joe McElveen, mayor of the City of Sumter, as the Association's president of the board of directors for 2013-2014.
Elections took place on Friday, July 19, at the Association's Annual Meeting. When asked about his vision for South Carolina hometowns, here is what Mayor McElveen had to say: 
Why are cities and towns so important to the economic development success of South Carolina?
Cities and towns are the lynchpin of economic development success in our state because they provide the sense of place and belonging that companies and their families are looking for in a location. While cities and towns provide the utility infrastructure and police and fire protection that companies need, hometowns also provide a sense of community with arts and cultural activities, a vibrant downtown, and activities for families. Giving cities and towns tools to attract and retain both large and small businesses is critical to the future success of our state.
What do you see as the biggest challenge cities and towns face?
As local elected leaders of our state's cities and towns, our biggest challenge is boosting economic success by attracting business, while also encouraging community development and providing a positive quality of life for residents. All of this must be done while addressing the challenge of shrinking resources. In Sumter, we are fortunate to have large manufacturers, a strong military base, locally owned and operated businesses on Main Street, beautiful gardens, higher education institutions and a strong sense of patriotism and loyalty.
How can cities and towns influence change in South Carolina?
As local leaders, it is up to us to influence change both in our communities and at the State House in Columbia. From small towns in rural parts of the state to our capital city and other urban cores, legislators need to hear from mayors and councilmembers about the positive quality of life in our hometowns and the high standard of our services and amenities for residents, businesses and visitors. It is our responsibility to make sure our statewide leaders know our hometowns are where economic growth originates and prospers.