As of this writing, the first order of business for longtime Aiken Mayor Fred Cavanaugh at the November 23 meeting of City Council was to ask for approval of the minutes of the Nov. 9 meeting and then ask City Clerk Sara Ridout to swear in Aiken’s newly elected Mayor, Rick Osbon.
Mayor Cavanaugh has served in that capacity for the past 24 years and six years prior to that as a City Council Member. Aiken has been led by only two mayors in the past 58 years, including the 34 years at the helm by H. Odell Weeks from 1957 to 1991.
Mayor Osbon’s victory over longtime City Council Member Lessie Price in the Nov. 3 election, was certified by the City of Aiken Election Commission on Nov. 11. Council Members Gail Diggs and Dick Dewar were also sworn in, returning to Council without opposition, and Price has two years remaining in her current term.
Mayor Osbon ran a campaign based upon support for a business atmosphere in the City and on his desire to serve as the mayor for every citizen in Aiken, in every neighborhood and every walk of life.
“My goal is to make Aiken the best that it can be,” said Osbon in an interview shortly before taking office. “Among the ways to do that is to consider how our deliberations will produce a better quality of life in every issue and decision we face. I will be mayor of the City as a whole,” he continued and vowed that he will begin with a series of ‘Town Hall’ meetings in each City neighborhood, accompanied by that area’s City Council Member. “During the campaign we vowed to bring the government to your neighborhood. I want every citizen to have a voice and be heard.”
Mayor Osbon is a native of Aiken, born in the old Aiken County Hospital in 1968, and raised near the Crosland Park neighborhood on Osbon Drive. His grandfather, Arthur Osbon, opened the family-run Osbon Cleaners on Pendleton Street in 1950. Mayor Osbon is married to the former Angie Mathis, another Aiken family, and they have three children, Reagan, 16, Gemma, 13, and Sterling, 10. Mayor Osbon attended Mead Hall Elementary, Schofield Middle School and Aiken High School, and is a graduate of the University of South Carolina Aiken with a degree in Business.
Taking his position in April of this year, new City Manager John Klimm and Mayor Osbon represent a new era in leadership for Aiken. Both have pledged to continue to preserve the beauty, charm and special nature of Aiken while leading the City with new initiatives into the future.