GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – On Tuesday, two Republicans, Joe Farmer and incumbent Knox White are hoping for your vote in the primary election for Greenville mayor.

“After 40 years we need change,” Farmer said. “We need someone that is going to support neighborhoods. We need someone that is going to listen to residents. Knox said in 1995 when he was first running for mayor, ‘I think when people are in office for too long they just stop listening’ and I would agree with him. He has been in office for too long and has just stopped listening.” 

White said he is proud to have served the city for so long. He believes Greenville has become what he called an opportunity city during his time in office. He said he has worked to beautify the city and make it livable, as it is now earning national recognition.

“It has been my great honor to have been mayor of Greenville for over 20 years,” White said. “We have many great projects to show for it, but the focus has always been the same. It has been about quality of life. Everything we do is about neighborhoods, and quality of life. That is the best way to balance the growth we are having.”

Born and raised in Greenville, and graduate of Furman University, Joe Farmer said he wants to see Greenville grow responsibly. He said he believes right now more people should have input on making decisions for the city. 

“The mayor has been in office for 40 years and he has installed his people at every level,” Farmer said. “He has packed the board of zoning appeals and the planning commission with developers. All of these big buildings look fine individually but collectively we are getting overpowered.”

Mayor White said his focus continues to be the residents of Greenville. As a graduate of Greenville High School, seeking an eighth term in office he said he’s committed to working to the best interest of those who call Greenville home.

“Our focus is always on the residents of Greenville,” White said. “We do everything we do for ourselves. It is one of the great things about Greenville. We didn’t build Falls Park for tourists, but tourists happen to like it. We do it for ourselves. Unity Park is our latest example of parks and greenspace. It is just interesting that when we do things to make life more pleasant and more livable for people who live here people from the outside also come in and like it as well.”

Farmer said his focus is on protecting communities and neighborhoods from overdevelopment, while prioritizing transparency, accountability, and public safety.

“Our neighborhoods just outside of downtown are the ones that are seeing a lot of pressure,” Farmer said. “They are getting neglected, the infrastructure is aging and they aren’t getting a lot of support from city hall. Everything is being focused on downtown and on big parks.”

Mayor White told us he is running for re-election to continue making Greenville a place people want to live and visit. He said he is focused not on what he has done to grow the city so far but what is happening next.

“We have a lot of projects we are still working on,” White said. “Unity Park is one we are still working on. Working to invest in our neighborhoods. We have a new $30 million dollar acceleration plan to do everything we have been doing in neighborhoods from sidewalks to street repaving, only we are accelerating all that. It is very exciting to watch that and make sure we are doing it right.”

There will be several polling locations for the primary election on Tuesday, click here for a full list.

The general election will be held on November 7th where the winner of the Republican primary will face former city councilmember Michelle Shain.