City of Mauldin: Getting to Know Your Candidates

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Dive deep into the City of Mauldin’s upcoming elections on November 7 as we sit down with the candidates vying for your vote. Today, you’ll hear from City Council Seat 6 candidate Mark Steenback. Discover why he is running for office, what he thinks are the biggest issues facing the City of Mauldin, his priorities if elected, and more. We’ve included a lot of helpful links below. Please take a listen and share with your neighbors.

Candidate Links:

Mark Steenback LinkedIn

Election Resources:

Check Your Voter Registration Status

View Your Sample Ballot

Look Up Who Represents You

Transcript

Katy Smith:

On Tuesday, November 7, 2023, there are elections in all six cities within Greenville County.

I’m Katy Smith with Greater Good Greenville, and we are pleased to bring you interviews with most every candidate in contested races. Today we feature the City of Mauldin

But first, a quick primer on elections in the city of Mauldin. In odd numbered years like this one, Mauldin holds elections for half of its city council members and in every four years for its mayor. Mauldin has six seats on council, and all of them are at-large, meaning all voters in the city can vote for them.

Seats that are up for election in Mauldin are for the Mayor, held by Terry Merritt, Seat 2, held by Carol King, Seat 4, held by Michael Reynolds, and Seat 6, held by Diane Kuziner. Merritt, King, and Reynolds are all running for reelection and are unopposed. Diane Kuziner, is not running for reelection. At the time of this recording, three people had filed to run, and we recorded an interview with one of those candidates, Mark Steenback. Now, however, his two opponents have dropped out, so Mark is your guy.

Because we have the interview with him, and because we thought it would be nice to introduce him to Mauldin residents and the community at large, we’re sharing our conversation with you.

Here’s how the interview worked. All candidates received the same questions at the time of their invitation to join us and were given 10 minutes for their interview. Candidates were allowed to bring along a companion, such as a campaign manager, family member, or friend, and to record our session themselves. There were no edits made to the interview.

We’ve put a link to Mark Steebeck’s preferred internet presence on the episode page. 

Well, I’m pleased to be joined today by Mark Steenback, who’s running for seat six on Mauldin City Council. Thanks for being here today, Mark.

Mark Steenback:

[2:23] Thank you for the opportunity to be here.

Katy Smith:

[2:25] Tell us about yourself and why you’re running for election.

Mark Steenback:

[2:28] That’s a good question, actually. I think I would describe myself as a reluctant candidate.

I’ve always been interested in local politics and got a little bit more involved in a few different ways over the last couple of years.

And as I interacted with local politicians and people that I trust and kind of expressed my interest, people said, you know, it’s probably something you think about at some point. So I was, but not maybe as early as this.

[3:00] But I was encouraged by a couple different people to run for an uncontested seat at the time.

And so I threw my name in there and here I am. The reason why, probably the biggest reason why is in Mauldin, we don’t have wards or districts, so they’re all open seats.

And there’s, sure, positive and negative to that, but one of the things that we’re dealing with right now is out of the six council seats, five members live in one neighborhood. That’s fine. I mean, they’re all five could be…

I mean, I don’t have really an issue or think personally they’re terrible people, but they have a lived experience with one neighborhood and one part of town.

And I live on a part of town right now where there are a little over 2,000 homes either permitted, under construction, or newly constructed.

[3:44] And in the county, on the county side that butts up against the city where I live, there’s another 2,200 homes.

And so there’s just this incredible amount of growth, you know, so as far as like the roads, the schools, services, all those sort of things, and just the quality of life when you’re adding, you know, 4,000 homes within about three square miles, it’s gonna change the dynamic of things.

And I think there’s some things that have been done and maybe not been…questions, maybe haven’t been asked or perspectives certainly for those of us that live on that side of the city have been raised.

So that’s the big thing. The big thing is I want to be able to represent a part of the city that hasn’t had a voice really at all more or less for the last eight years.

You know, about a year and a half, we did have someone lived over there and then he moved. And so, yeah, so we’re experiencing incredible growth. There’s a lot going on.

[4:41] There’s a huge chunk of Mauldin’s residential population over there, and I think it’s important that someone speak on their behalf.

And like I told my wife, I either have to stop complaining about it or do something about it. So here I am doing something about it.

So that’s probably why I also do…

I do think Mauldin’s an amazing city.

I grew up in the Golden Strip, so I’ve lived around or in the Mauldin and Simpsonville area most of my life, but in the city limits the last five years.

And Mauldin’s a great city, there’s a lot of great opportunity, and so as the father of four boys and them growing up there, I really want them to have an even better city than what I grew up in and what we experience now.

And so that’s, I think, another motivation for me to want to make sure that the next generation has the same wonderful experience if not a better one than what we’ve had being able to live in that area especially in Mauldin.

Katy Smith:

[5:41] Great, thank you. What do you believe the biggest issues are that Mauldin is facing?

Mark Steenback:

[5:46] Well, like I mentioned, I think one of the biggest things right now is growth.

Mauldin’s growing super fast. We’ve got a lot going on. You’ve got Bridgeway Station, you’ve got City Center, and then like I talked about you’ve got literally thousands of homes being built within the city limits.

And so there’s those own challenges of managing that growth right now.

But I think another challenge is thinking about the fact that this isn’t going to continue forever.

And so as we grow, as we manage this growth now, that we do it in a way that is sustainable and that has kind of the end result in mind or the fact that this isn’t always going to be our experience.

I think at some point, hopefully people stop migrating to the South and in the numbers that they are right now, especially into our area, into the Greenville area.

[6:34] I think that stops at some point and then you have to think about, okay, when that stops, are we prepared to be able to continue to provide services and take care of our citizens and make sure all the parks and recreation and all those things are still going to be there when the growth slows down, especially as it comes to, our tax bases and things like that.

I think that’s a big one. I think another big one, And the other big one is, you know, we’re in Greenville County, we butt up against the city of Greenville, we butt up against the city of Simpsonville, you know, and while there’s certainly cooperation, there’s also just a natural competition for resources in terms of employees and housing and all these sort of things.

And so I think one of the big challenges is being able to think regionally and not just about the city.

You know, I mean, city first for sure, where there’s a lot of things that I think we need to make sure that we think about that first, but we also have to understand that we live in an ecosystem, you know, with a county and understanding what they’re going on, having positive relationships there, with the cities that we, you know, that we interact with.

We’re certainly not, you know, we’re not this like municipality all by ourselves.

So, I mean, we’re part of a bigger organism.

And so, I think one of the challenges that we will continue to face is how do we play a part that is positive for the entire region and also for the city?

I think that’s going to be, you know, key for us.

Katy Smith:

[7:57] Great. Thank you. What would be your priorities if elected this year?

Mark Steenback:

[8:02] I think, like I mentioned, I think the first thing is just to be a voice for a part of the city that hasn’t really had one and to, you know, hopefully from where I live, from the station of life I’m in, from the experiences that I’ve had and the opportunities that I’ve had, to be able to make Mauldin better by adding another voice to it.

Not that, you know, again, I don’t think it’s intentional and there’s nothing wrong with having everybody in the same spot, but you lose something when you don’t have that diversity of thought, the diversity of experience.

[8:38] And so one thing that I have become more and more convinced of in my life is the more people you have that are different and think differently and look at things differently, usually the better solution you get.

And so, I think that really is one of the things I want to bring to that, you know, to that end.

I want to make sure that when we grow and how we grow and the things that we do and the developments we approve are going to be sustainable and that we’re able to, that our kids are going to be able to go to school and not be in class sizes of 35 and 40.

And I realize the city doesn’t have anything to do with that specifically, but we certainly can think about that and cooperate with and communicate with the school system around that.

And then again, another big thing for me is making sure that we have services that are going to be able to cover that area.

Stormwater is a big buzzword in Mauldin for sure, and some of that is, you know, the sins of the past, and we certainly want to do what we can to fix that, but also part of that is that there wasn’t a lot of forward-thinking at that time about, you know, what happens if you build another development here, you do that or do this, and how those things compound on one another.

So, you know, I think that’s the biggest thing is I just want to be able to add my voice, but also allow my voice to be the voice for a large group of the city that doesn’t have one right now.

Katy Smith:

[10:01] Right. We have a little more time. Is there anything else you’d like to share with listeners?

Mark Steenback:

[10:07] Yeah, I think the biggest thing that I probably want people to know about me is I honestly I’m doing this not because I don’t have my own personal agenda in this.

I really do believe that and have become convinced that one of the best ways to impact and do good for community is to be in roles like this, to serve in roles like this, and it certainly is a service role.

And you know, most of my life, almost all my entire career, I’ve been a nonprofit in service and I really…that’s who I am and that’s what I wanna be.

And so I hope that the city of Mauldin, the citizens of Mauldin will see value in that and give me the opportunity to serve them and being a voice for them and for the city.

Katy Smith:

[10:52] Well, thank you so much for joining us today and for your willingness to serve the community, Mark.

Mark Steenback:

[10:56] Absolutely. Thank you.

Catherine Puckett: Simple Civics: Greenville County is a project of Greater Good Greenville. Greater Good Greenville was catalyzed by the merger of the Nonprofit Alliance and the Greenville Partnership for Philanthropy. You can learn more on our website at greatergoodgreenville.org. This is a production of Podcast Studio X.

Image via the City of Mauldin.

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