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      Election preview: Manning and Letts both gunning for Richland County Council

      COLUMBIA (WACH) -- Richland Couny Councilman Jim Manning is running for re-election but challenger Michael Letts is trying to win over that seat.

      Jim Manning has been on Richland County Council since Novermber 2008.

      The Democrat represents District 8, a portion of the county which runs from Decker Boulevard to Northeast Columbia.

      The councilman said he has helped with the revitalization of his district, but looks forward to what lies ahead.

      "The biggest opportunity that we have ahead of us in Richland County is the passing of the penny transportation tax," said Jim Manning.

      The Penny Sales Tax for the city's transportation system is accompanying Manning this year on the ballot, a measure he strongly supports.

      "I think it's so important for the infrastructure of our county for safety, for jobs, for local control on that project," said Manning.

      The issue has been a hot topic since the recent bus system cuts.

      "I think it's paramount for our county to get good bus service and be progressing where we need to be for the next decade or two," said Manning.

      However, Manning's opponent in the upcoming election has a different opinion.

      Republican candidate Michael Letts said there's no proof the sales tax is needed.

      "It is the single largest tax increase in Richland County history, and it has not been proven to be justified or warranted," said Michale Letts.

      Letts met with community members to discuss issues he is concerned about and spread the word about what he plans to do if elected.

      "My style in governing is going to be how to find common ground so we can advance what needs to be done to enhance our quality of life and our childrens quality of life," said Letts.

      Letts syas the bus system must have an additional, permanent funding solution that this proposal does not provide.

      "We still to date have no detailed account to how those bus dollars will be spent," said Letts.