Gayla McSwain believes in doing what’s right, not what’s easy. She has a reputation for doing her homework and making government work for the citizens of Goose Creek. Our city needs:
High Quality Jobs
Good opportunities within the city and living wages for everyone, not just the people at the top.
Planned economic development for a diversified tax base but BALANCED with QUALITY businesses and green/recreational space.
Road improvement; adequate police and fire protection; better traffic management; more sidewalks; drug use prevention/treatment.
Accountability and Fiscal Responsibility
Keeping our taxes low by spending wisely.
A self-made business woman, Army veteran, and trial attorney, she is one of only four council members, in the history of Goose Creek, to have been certified by the South Carolina’s Municipal Elected Officials Institute of Government.
From fixing sink holes to reviewing critical city contracts to promoting innovative ideas, Gayla pursues issues until they are resolved. Her attention to detail and dilligence in getting results have made real improvements in the lives of our citizens.
Your voice on city council
Gayla fights for you. She has the courage to stand up to government when it is wrong or indifferent and the skill to guide leaders in the right direction. She works tirelessly for the citizens of Goose Creek to protect and improve our city.
Her Accomplishments in Office
Serving only two years since being elected in a special election, Gayla has already made significant contributions to Goose Creek. Here are a few examples of her many accomplishments to date:
With her significant legal background, Gayla was able to review all of the contracts that the city entered into regarding a proposed city-owned electric utility and ensure that changes were made to those contracts to better protect the city: regardless of whether a judge finds that the city may not provide electricity to Century Aluminum, the city will not incur any legal cost.
As soon as she was elected to council, Gayla reviewed the plans for a park in the Boulder Bluff neighborhood that had been shelved for several years. She emailed copies of the plans to the rest of council and explained that the Boulder Bluff residents, while she was campaigning in their neighborhood, had asked her when that park was going to be built. Since that time, council has voted to build the John McCants Veterans Park in Boulder Bluff. Such projects help to create a sense of place and will attract tourists which will help our businesses.
Some Council members wanted to get rid of the Arts Commission but councilman McClary and councilwoman McSwain infused new life into it which was responsible for the vinyl wrap art work that has appeared on traffic signal control boxes throughout our city; monthly "Art Talk in the Creek;" and a new mural ordinance that allows artwork on buildings. All three projects have been well received by the public. They, along with future projects, help to create a sense of place that is needed in Goose Creek.
She discovered that the city’s sale contract with the developer of the old, Goose Creek fire station had expired and got that sale moving again. We are now getting our first micro-brewery along with a restaurant in the same space, and the new mural ordinance will allow for an exterior that makes for a nice gathering spot for citizens and visitors.
Gayla personally visited one of our city’s business owners to encourage him to apply for a city facade grant. Through the grant program, he was able to afford a major facade upgrade that improved the appearance of his business.
She discovered that several of our planning commission members had not received state-mandated continuing education and training, ensuring that the situation was corrected. Well-trained planning commissioners are essential to creating a sense of place and to make commercial and residential zoning and land use compatible with the city’s comprehensive plan. Such appointments will help council to address the critical issues, drawing from the competent citizens of Goose Creek.
Gayla immediately engaged in training to become one of only four council members, in the history of Goose Creek, to have been certified by the South Carolina’s Municipal Elected Officials Institute of Government; she has encouraged her fellow council members to take advantage of that education which will help them to address the critical issues facing Goose Creek in a meaningful way.
Advocating for the City and the Citizens
Gayla has met with the SCDOT on numerous occasions in an attempt to get a sidewalk built in one of our oldest neighborhoods, Boulder Bluff. Council recently approved matching funds to get that sidewalk, along with drainage improvements, built in that neighborhood. Such projects help to create a sense of place and pride.
At Council’s most recent budget workshop, she expressed her belief that our City trash collection employees were being underpaid; some were not earning a "living" wage. The proposed budget is now due to be amended accordingly. She was the only council member to vote against a pay raise for the mayor and city council, citing facts and statistics that the mayor's role is part time and that the salary is already at the top of the appropriate range.
Holding Government Accountable
Our city council must vote on who to hire as the city administrator. After unsuccessfully trying to convince the mayor that he was illegally withholding the applications of candidates for our city administrator position from the rest of council, Gayla sued him in his official capacity. A judge ordered the mayor to give the applications to the rest of council. Access to the applications enabled council members to know who the applicants were and to see their qualifications, and was, in fact, their legal right. Without an excellent city administrator, who runs the city’s operations, none of the critical issues facing Goose Creek can be adequately addressed.
Goose Creek has been Gayla's home for the past 30 years. She wants to ensure that it remains one of the safest and most affordable places to live while also providing excellent municipal services to its citizens.
As a board member, Gayla worked hard for the Trident United Way and for the Charleston Regional Economic Development Alliance, helping to ensure those organizations’ success. She knows what it takes to build quailty business alliances that serve the community.
A fiscally conservative Goose Creek City Council member, Gayla has been working hard to bring transparency and accountability to our city’s governing and budgeting processes.
In the News
Gayla has been instrumental in addressing the critical issues facing Goose Creek and has the courage to stand up for the best interests of the citizens. To see a history of her involvement, please visit her Twitter page: @GaylaMcSwain
Goose Creek leaders OK salary increases, will not take effect until after election
"Goose Creek's elected officials took a second and final vote Tuesday night on the question of whether or not to give raises to those in their positions.
Gayla McSwain voted against it..."
Judge orders Goose Creek mayor to hand over city administrator applications to councilwoman
"The mayor of Goose Creek was ordered by a judge Thursday to hand over the applications for a soon-to-be vacant city administrator position after a councilwoman filed a lawsuit against the politician alleging he was conducting the search in private."
City Council divided on planning commission appointment
"While Councilwoman Gayla McSwain attempted to nominate resident Gena Glaze for the commission, before she could do so Councilman Jerry Tekac made a motion to nominate Byrd, prompting some tension on the governing body."
Issues Facing Goose Creek
Gayla's business and legal skills have contributed to positive change for Goose Creek. Her responsible and accountable leadership over the next four years will ensure major issues will continue to be addressed and resolved.
Diversified Tax Base
The pandemic has taught us that a broad tax base protects the community. A range of high-quality businesses must be recruited to bring jobs and tax revenue close to home.
A healthy community relies on high-quality services to prosper. From safety to recreation, it is imperative that quality services are made available to all citizens.
We need to help our businesses thrive so that all of our citizens can, too, with an efficient permitting process, a fair business license fee, and smart use of the hospitality fees collected from the businesses.
Growth is rewarding if it is balanced. Planned communities can be exceptional if they are based on the needs of the community as opposed to the profit margin of the developer. It is critical to work with high-quality developers and to establish plans and contracts so that everyone wins.
We need to create a sense of place so that people have pride in their city and so that other people have a reason to visit Goose Creek. We must continue our support of the Arts Commission and invest more deeply in our cultural diversity to fully realize our potential.
Planning for the Future
Nothing benefits a community more than good planning. Planning must incorporate the needs of the entire community and balance government growth with our quality of life. Long term goals can be achieved when services, business, family, the environment and revenue align.