Greenville City Elections 2023

Greenville City Elections 2023

On November 7th, registered voters in Greenville will take to the polls to elect Mayor, City Council Districts 1 and 3, Member At-Large, and Commissioner of Public Works. 


Knox White, the Republican incumbent, who has been the mayor since 2007, will be running against former City Council member Michelle Shain, a Democrat and former At-Large City Council member and Chair of Economic Development. Mayor White defeated fellow Republican Joe Farmer in the Mayoral primaries this past June. 


District 1 incumbent John DeWorken (R) and District 3 incumbent Ken Gibson (D), are both running unopposed.


Commissioner of Public Works incumbent Philip Kilgore (R) was running against Zach Dukes (R), who withdrew before the primary. 


Incumbent Council Member At-Large Dorothy Dowe (D), is opposed by first time candidate Randall Fowler (R).


I reached out to each candidate to ask what they would say to young voters leading up to this election.


The two candidates for mayor did not return my request for comment. 


Mr. John DeWorken said, “Is Greenville a place that you could go off to college and come back home to live? Does it have the amenities that would provide you what you need?  Those are some of the issues that I am working on, such as workforce development (are there jobs available?) and livability for young people (do we have the music venues [not enough in my opinion], parks, downtown, experiences, and the like that would attract young people?).”


Mr. Ken Gibson did not return my request for comment. 


Mrs. Dorothy Dowe said, “Voters should engage in this election because local representation is so important to everyone’s daily life. As an At Large member of Greenville City Council, I represent the entire city of approximately 72,000 residents and city stakeholders. My work includes advancing the issues that I ran on in 2019 which were:

  • Access to affordable housing
  • Access to transportation
  • Managing our growth to protect quality of life


In addition to advancing initiatives in each of these priority areas, my job is to respond to constituents each and every day, be it for a pothole issue, a traffic calming issue, a zoning issue, a safety issue – if it is THEIR issue it is MY issue. I am running for re-election on my record of the past 4 years on Council; 34 years of service to our community and the skillset that I bring to the Council as an engineer and small business owner.”


Mr. Randall Fowler said, “There are a number of important topics that face our city which young voters should be concerned about, and they are representation and school safety.  


The core feature of democracy at any level is that we are governed by elected leaders, and when those elected leaders complete their term we have the opportunity to vote in new leaders with a vision that aligns to our beliefs and values.  As we look at our city, we can see examples of this on our City Council.  But throughout our city we have numerous boards that are filled with people who were never elected or given authority by voters, but have been appointed.  Those boards, like the Board of Zoning Appeals, have power to make decisions on what can be built in neighborhoods, how land can be used, and whether someone can rent out their home.  This is a lot of power for an unelected board to have in our city.  As someone who loves democracy and feels that everyone in our city should have a voice, I have a problem with how our current City Council has forfeited the foundational tenet of democracy, and for those who value having a voice in our city, I encourage everyone to ask why our current elected leaders are happy to have unelected leaders managing our city.  


With regards to school safety, it’s important to understand that our City Council sets the budget for the police department, and through that budget the Greenville Police Department (GPD) assigns School Resource Officers (SRO) to select schools.  Unfortunately the City Council has not felt that all schools should be protected.  Instead they assigned 2 SROs to each high school, 1 SRO to each middle school, but only 1 SRO to every three elementary schools.  So 1 SRO has to rotate between three elementary schools during the school week.  After the tragedies that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School to the recent shooting at Nashville elementary school, we must prioritize school safety.


So, when young voters look at this upcoming election I would love for them to ask the questions:  Why are we allowing unelected boards to govern our city, and why has our city deprioritized school safety?”


Mr. Philip Kilgore spoke of his campaign: “Also on the ballot is the office of Commissioner of Public Works. This office serves as one of five Commissioners on the governing commission for Greenville Water, the public water system for the greater part of Greenville County. Phillip Kilgore is the incumbent running for reelection, and he is unopposed. If you want to learn more about Greenville Water, you can reach Commissioner Kilgore at [email protected] or visit his Facebook page.  Or you can visit Greenville Water on its website, LinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram.”


To find your voting place and learn more about this year’s elections, visit

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About the Contributor
Elijah Butcher
Elijah Butcher, Political Commentator
Varsity Cross Country Team Captain, music enthusiast, free thinker