By Brian Sherman for The Island Eye News
The list of candidates seeking election to the Isle of Palms City Council has reached at least six, while the mayor’s race remains a faceoff between current Council members Ryan Buckhannon and Phillip Pounds. The filing deadline is Sept. 3. Katie Miars, Alex Skatell and Andrew Vega have filed to run for the Council, joining John Bogosian, Blair Hahn and Jeffrey Rubin in the race for four Council seats. Incumbent Council members Randy Bell and Susan Hill Smith have not yet decided whether they will seek reelection. Buckhannon’s term has expired, but if Pounds loses his bid for the mayor’s seat, he will be able to serve two more years on the Council. If Pounds wins, a special election to fill his Council position will be held.
Miars, a Jacksonville, Florida native, graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 2005 and has lived in the Lowcountry since that time. She, her husband and their three children moved to the Isle of Palms in 2016. Two years later, she decided to give up her law practice “to devote myself to my family and my community.” She has served as a volunteer at Sullivan’s Island Elementary School, was a substitute teacher at the school and in 2020 became the president of Friends of SIES. “I love Isle of Palms, the people, the beaches and all it has given my family. I would love the opportunity to give back to the island,” she said.
Skatell, whose first summer job was as a parking lot attendant at the Charleston County lot on IOP, reached his goal of returning to the island last year. Spending much of his career advising government entities at the state, local and national levels, he has been recognized by Forbes as a 30 under 30 recipient and by Fortune as a 40 under 40 business leader. He also has served as a board member of the Georgetown University Institute of Politics and Public Service, the Clemson University Spiro Institute, the News Media Alliance and several nonprofits. “I learned the impact we can make together sitting in on fundraisers with my late mom, Laura Skatell, as neighbors came together without tax dollars to plant palm trees and bury power lines down Palm Boulevard,” he commented.
A graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, Vega served on active duty from 2003 to 2012. He currently is a commercial airline pilot and also serves in the Air Force Reserves. He moved to the Isle of Palms in 2018. He is a lifetime member of VFW Post 3137, and both his children attend Sullivan’s Island Elementary School. “Over the course of my aviation career, I’ve had the opportunity to work with people of different cultural backgrounds, occupations and areas of expertise to create a cohesive environment where all members were valued,” he said.
“I always wanted to live here,” Vega added. “It’s always felt like home, and it’s a special place. I don’t plan on living anywhere else – this is our forever home.”