Meet Ann Williamson: Rock Hill’s newest council member

Posted January 13, 2014 10:34 pm | Filed under Featured, Local News

DSC_3433Andrew Kiel |
The last time Rock Hill’s fifth ward saw a new representative on city council, there was still a roof over Rock Hill’s Main Street and the name Dave Lyle was still synonymous with the former mayor.

In January 1990, Osbey Roddey was sworn in on Rock Hill City Council. Last night, he looked on as his successor, Ann Williamson, assumed his seat in city government.

Williamson, 68, survived a two primary challengers and a runoff before winning the seat in a municipal election in October. The retired flight attendant could hardly curb her enthusiasm.

“I am so excited…and this being my first night, of course, I’m the new kid on the block and I’m just winging it as I go tonight,” Williamson said. “But it feels real good.”

Williamson’s election comes at a time when the city’s fifth ward is at a crossroads: Between the Knowledge Park projects, portions of which sit within her constituency, to redevelopment of the former Edison Mall on Saluda Street to recent news of a new Walmart Supercenter coming to the busy corner of Mount Holly and Saluda Roads on the southern end of the city.

“We’re talking about Walmart coming, we’re talking about jobs, we’re talking about neighborhood association meetings. We’re talking about people coming out,” Williamson said. “I would like to see every meeting as crowded as it was tonight for this celebration.”

Dozens of Williamson’s family, friends and extended family looked on as she was sworn in to office. Typical city council meetings draw meager attendance outside of scheduled speakers, city staff and reporters.
Williamson said since her election last fall, she has met with many of her new constituents and realized there’s a willingness to serve.

“When you go out and you reach [people who are working], you find there are people who like being asked to join something. And they will come,” Williamson said.

Also Monday, Mayor Doug Echols and council members John Black and Jim Reno were re-sworn in to office. All three of their seats were up for re-election in 2013 and faced no opposition.