I’ve been in public service for 21 years on Hilton Head Island. One of my greatest privileges has been serving as your mayor and helping to steer our course of action on numerous issues.

Since I took office four years ago, we’ve dealt with multiple hurricane threats. We’ve had a pandemic that gripped the world and disrupted business, schools, and our personal lives.

We’re still wrestling with the William Hilton Parkway corridor project, but I hope it will come together soon for the betterment of our community.

On the upside, we’ve remained a top destination for visitors. We passed a comprehensive plan that set the vision and values for our community. We adopted a strategic plan with 65 initiatives aimed at protecting our environment, managing growth, and providing quality of life offerings.

My term as mayor ends in a few months, and there’s now an opportunity for new leadership. Four candidates are running for mayor and another six are seeking to represent wards 2, 4 and 5. Whomever is elected will bring new ideas and new solutions.

This is where you come in – helping to decide who our next leaders will be. I encourage you to:

• Register to vote. The upcoming election is Nov. 8. Early voting is Oct. 24 to Nov. 5. To participate, South Carolina law requires that you be registered to vote at least 30 days prior to the election, including the early voting date.

To be eligible to register in South Carolina, you must be a United States citizen, be at least 18 years old on or before the next election and be a resident this state, this county and precinct.

Know your ward and precinct. Earlier this year, the town underwent redistricting based on federal census data. Ward boundary lines were updated as part of this decennial process that determined which neighborhoods are grouped into wards and ensured each town council member represents about the same number of constituents. 

Some ward lines shifted, which means you might have a different town council representative than before. You can search for your ward by entering your street address into an interactive map on the town’s website at hiltonheadislandsc.gov/redistricting. Search results will identify both your ward and town council representative.

If you are a registered voter and your ward has changed, and you have not received an updated voter registration card, contact the Beaufort County Board of Voter Registration and Elections at 843-255-6900.

Learn where candidates stand on issues impacting our Town. There are several important issues ahead of us – workforce and affordable housing, the corridor project, the bridges coming to the island, short-term rentals, beach parking, park projects and more.

Candidates are sharing opinions across social media and speaking at events. Make time to attend meetings where they are making appearances. Listen, learn, and ask questions so you can make informed decisions when choosing our next mayor and town council members.

Those who are elected will serve our Island for the next four years, beginning Dec. 6.

John McCann is the mayor of the Town of Hilton Head Island. JohnM@hiltonheadislandsc.gov