Hancock takes the helm in Hartsville
By Bobby Bryant, Editor
Casey Hancock’s first act as mayor of Hartsville was City Council agenda item 4-E – accepting a certificate from a local Department of Health and Environmental Control official. Shortly after Hancock was sworn in Dec. 14 as mayor of Darlington County’s largest town, outgoing Mayor Mel Pennington invited Hancock to take his chair behind the council’s long desk, directly under the city seal, and Hancock ran the remainder of the meeting. “This is your chair,” Pennington told him. “This is your gavel.” Hancock, an IT consultant and part owner of Wild Heart Brewing Co., defeated four rivals to claim that chair and to succeed Pennington, who was Hartsville mayor for 12 years, but chose not to run again. His mother held a Bible as Hancock was sworn in. Both wore face masks as a precaution against COVID-19, although most of the people in the crowded council chamber did not. “I’ve said dozens of times during the campaign that I’ve been volunteering for 13 years,” Hancock said. “ … And sitting there, just now, it kind of crystallized in my mind that when I got started in public service was (about) the time that Mel first ran for office and was elected.” Hancock said he always found Pennington to be an inspiration. “I’ll never pretend to have your vision,” he said, but added that he learned much from Pennington’s service as mayor. “I can’t thank you enough for not only what you’ve given me, but for what you’ve given Hartsville.” To Pennington, Hancock is the next chapter in the Hartsville story. Pennington said, “Casey’s going to come in, and he’ll do things we have never done. He’ll do things we have never thought of. … And that’s exciting for the future of Hartsville.” Hancock is a lifelong Hartsville resident. Shortly after his win, he posted a message to supporters on his Facebook page: “I can’t thank Hartsville enough for putting their faith in me to serve you in the capacity of mayor. I can’t wait to continue to walk beside you and listen to what you want from our city. “To those who voted today, I thank you for exercising your right to make your voice heard. And to my campaign team, I thank you for believing in me and all the hard work you put into ushering us into this next chapter.” Also during council’s meeting last week, three re-elected City Council members – Kenzie DeLaine, Teresa Mack and Bob Braddock – were sworn in for new terms.