March 11, 2018
As a fifth-grader at Greenwood’s East End Elementary School, Brandon Smith wrote an essay about one day becoming mayor.
Decades later, the 38-year-old attorney is preparing to put his dream into action, formally declaring himself as a candidate for the top municipal position.
“I believe it’s an exciting time to be a Greenwoodian, and I believe it’s a time in Greenwood’s history,” Smith said. “When we look back in 30 or 40 years, decisions we make today are going to have a lasting impact. I’m extremely excited about where this city is going.”
Smith, who maintains a law firm in The Greenwood Building, becomes the second person to run for the seat. Greenwood Community Theatre executive director Stephen Gilbert announced his candidacy last summer.
Both are vying to replace Welborn Adams, who ruled out another term in November 2016.
A political neophyte, Smith said he’s opting to run for mayor because of the strong representation provided by the City Council.
“I look forward to coming in and working with these folks, because I don’t think the team we’ve got in place is broken,” he said. “I have zero interest in using this as a stepping stone, but I feel like a local election like this, you can make an actual difference.”
Smith and wife, Tara, have three boys: Jarratt, 12, Witt, 9, and Benjo, 6. They attend Main Street United Methodist Church. He’s also active in several local and state organizations, including the Arts Center of Greenwood, the United Way of Abbeville and Greenwood Counties, Greenwood Kiwanis Club and the Greenwood SC Chamber of Commerce.
Smith said his top priorities are working with county leaders to identify more opportunities for collaboration and advocating for a larger housing stock within the city to accommodate young families moving into the region.
“With so much growth here in the city, nothing drives me crazier than to see folks coming in from out of state and living 50 miles away,” he said. “I know how much we’re losing in terms of tax base when we have folks willing to drive out of town.”
Smith moved to Greenwood from Arkansas in the mid-1980s when his father, Dewitt H. Smith III joined the Savannah Lakes Village in McCormick.
“You’re never going to find a bigger cheerleader for Greenwood than me,” Smith said. “I grew up here and loved it, but I can’t imagine there being a more exciting time, we’ve just got so much going on that I want to be a part of the progress.”
Although running for mayor fulfills a lifelong pursuit for Smith, he welcomes an engaging race that provides voters choice, with praise for Gilbert and anybody else who seeks the office.
“I respect anybody who would take the time to run for mayor,” Smith said. “For whatever reason, if it’s not me (who wins), I’m willing to set aside any ego and help any way I can. Greenwood is a special place for a number of reasons.”