NORTH AUGUSTA — A common question posted by many political commentators is, why aren't there more women in politics? Why don't more women run for office?

The North Augusta Chamber of Commerce's Women in Business meeting recently went head-on with those questions.

A panel of four women, North Augusta City Council member Pat Carpenter, Aiken County Council member LaWana McKenzie, Aiken City Council member Lessie Price and JoAnne Day, League of Women Voters of South Carolina president, were moderated by North Augusta 2000's Phyllis Britt.

The panelists spoke about many things, including their reasons for running for office and what issues are important to them.

Another question posed to each of the panelists was what each was proud of.

McKenzie said when it comes to politics, she is most proud of constituent service.

“No matter when you call me, I try to respond quickly, give you the information you need or go to bat for you,” she said. “Sometimes I even have to tell people, ‘That's not going to happen.' However, being honest is important – I believe most people just want you to listen to their problems and tell them possible solutions, and for you to help them and give a realistic view of the outcome.

“I think I'm proudest of that service to people who have put that trust in me. The second thing I think I'm proud of is the low taxes in Aiken County, with the service that is provided. We do have very low taxes, and no one likes to pay them ... ”

Carpenter said one of the things she's most proud of is the North Augusta Municipal Building.

“We started talking about this building 15 to 18 years ago, asking where we were going to put it. We wondered if we wanted to keep it downtown, or make it more of a centralized location. This area was decided by our Council,” she said. “Another (accomplishment) that I live and breathe is Riverview Park. On a 4-3 vote, we got it, and I remember riding through Riverview Park and going, sitting and watching them build it.

“I tell the children of this community all the time, I feel like Pat Carpenter represents the young people of North Augusta. I feel like our City Council, and yes, we are two women (Carpenter and Councilwoman Carolyn Baggott), but no one looks at that. Everyone is treated equally by our City government.”