Schiller & Hamilton - July 2019



Joel Hamilton Shares His Civic Engagement Experience

Maybe it was a small dose of insanity that prompted me to do it, but I like to think it was a lifelong interest in politics that motivated me to run for a seat on York County Council. I majored in political science and worked on local campaigns while obtaining my undergraduate degree at Winthrop University. I also believe that my position as a lawyer provided me with the tools to analyze and make decisions on public policy.

A few weeks later, I ran into a friend of mine who happens to own a local radio station. He asked me if I had considered running for the open county council seat, and I mentioned that I had. Fast forward to a few days later, and a local article mentioning I might run for the seat was published. By March 2018, I announced my campaign for York County Council, but no amount of schooling or experience could have prepared me for the process of actually campaigning. It was incredibly humbling to ask friends, acquaintances, neighbors, and strangers for their confidence and funds for this campaign. But the greatest part of the experience was the support I received. I had volunteers who were knocking on doors in 100-degree heat, people stopping by my office with checks, and others who spent an entire summer campaigning for me. It was absolutely incredible. Ultimately, I was elected to serve York County, and I quickly learned that being elected to an office is a lot like running a marathon after a 5K race. You work tirelessly to win, and when you achieve that feat, you have to step up to the occasion and work for the position you got. But since day one, every council member and county official has been helpful as I adjust to my new position. Since I joined the County Council six months ago, I’ve learned that I am lucky enough to work with compassionate leaders who are there for the right reasons. To this day, I’m thankful for the amazing team that supported me throughout the race and those that continue to support me today. I have a loving wife, who has provided all the support from home that I could have ever needed, and I’m blessed with a law practice that allows me some flexibility. Thank you for a tremendous experience, York County. I can’t wait to see what the upcoming months bring.

Yet, before I understood campaigning or laws, I was

July 2019

raised to believe that you should use your talents to give back to your community. Whether you serve on boards, donate your money or time to an organization, or run for local office, you owe it to your community to be an asset. Even at Schiller & Hamilton

Law Firm, our mindset is to be servants to our clients, so it only makes sense that I abide by this philosophy in my personal life as well. In early 2018, the county councilman in my district announced he wouldn’t seek reelection. I told my wife I was considering running for his vacant seat, and I received her full support. I went to school here, I live here, I’m raising a family here, and I work here — my whole world is York County and this district. But I still wasn’t sure, and I decided to head into my Schiller & Hamilton Law Firm office, positioned on a corner in Rock Hill, South Carolina, to run numbers. Before I left, my wife asked me to help get our two little girls out of the bathtub. This stalled my trip to the office, but ultimately, it may have saved my life. As I was driving, the local police department called to let me know that a car had driven into our office precisely where I would have been sitting. The thought of running for County Council was put on hold as I grasped the shocking turn of events and managed the reconstruction of our firm.

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