Tony Watkins will not seek fourth term

Tony Watkins for web

By Jana E. Pye, Editor,

Mayor Tony Watkins revealed he would not seek a fourth term during an impromptu announcement at the beginning of the Darlington City Council meeting on Tuesday, June 2.
In his inimitable, story-telling way, Watkins shared the news as the second half a two-part announcement, after confirming that the sale of the property behind Walgreens on Main Street was “done deal” by former owner Scott Bortz, and that Bortz had indeed closed on the property with Walmart. “This will issue in a new economic transformation for Darlington, that will come in a different stages – one, the arrival of Walmart. And two, the arrival of other businesses being attracted to this area by Walmart.”

“It has been an honor and a privilege to be your mayor all these years,” said Watkins. “I was on council for 15 years before I became Mayor, so that has been about 26 years.” He went on to say that he has been asked many times when he will step down as mayor, and he said, “I first said when I see some dirt moving, but you know, I don’t have to see that dirt moving. I know it’s going to happen, because I just heard from someone I know and trust. It’s a good time for me to say I am not going to seek reelection as your mayor for a fourth term, and I do so willingly and happily and without any reservations. There are some things I’m really proud of that I have done in my life, been married to the same woman for 45 years one of the most special people in the world, my wife, raised two wonderful children and have four wonderful grandchildren. I was in business for 37 years as my own boss, and I really enjoyed that. I served in the U.S. Marine Corps for four years and served in Vietnam for 13 ½ months and made it back so I was able to raise that family. And, all of those things are great accomplishments but I rank being Mayor right up there with them. To have that sort of trust placed in you, is so humbling and gratifying and makes me so appreciative of all that I have experienced.”
In his retirement, Watkins took on a second job at the Darlington Library branch. “This is the first time I have had a job that I really, truly love, and this is not my last council meeting – don’t get me wrong, I’m not going anywhere- I have over half a year to serve, and I will be just as happy, if not more and hopefully be involved with some of the things that will come along with the arrival of Walmart and I look forward to that with pleasure and vigor. I think it’s good to leave when you are in good health and sound of mind. I look forward to serving the rest of my term. Its time to step aside and let new faces vie for that position not only on council, but for mayor and bring in their new ideas and, hopefully, some of those old ideas will be continued on.”

Author: Duane Childers

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