Sometimes a candidate for elected office is so different in all the right ways and possessed of great talent that he stands out among his opponents as a natural leader for our citizens; this is most certainly the case with Brett Barry. We may differ on the need to complete I-526, but we are in firm agreement on his other policy positions.
Born in a small farm town in Pennsylvania, Barry developed an interest in history that came about by sheer perseverance. At 12, the railroad would not let him volunteer but he decided to show them how determined he was; one Saturday, he took a scrub brush and a bucket of bleach water and spent the afternoon scrubbing graffiti off the old coal bin that was used in the days of steam. The following week the vice-president of the railroad called and asked him to prepare and give a historical narration for the train rides; he could start immediately.
Trips to the general store with his father turned into adventures to battlefields; participating in reenactments became their father-son activity. Fast forward to 2006 when Barry graduated from Penn State and accepted an invitation to work at the Pennsylvania State House for the Policy Committee. He was able to interact with elected officials of varying viewpoints and learned the arts of negotiation and compromise and how to attain true “win-win” agreements. Before long, he took a career path shift and went to the West Coast to work as a policy advisor in the field of environmental policy. He returned to the East Coast a few years later and landed in Charleston, where he had visited many times in his childhood.
Within the first two weeks of arriving he went out on a first date with his future wife, Mary Fishburne. The historic traditions of Charleston also welcomed Barry and he could not help notice how, as history became politicized nationwide, Charleston’s historic monuments came under assault. He formed the American Heritage Association in 2018 and brought together many different groups and figures in Charleston’s heritage community to give a voice to historically minded individuals. The citizens of Charleston made their case to Charleston City Council on numerous occasions, insisting that plaques be historical statements and not op-eds.
He is running in West Ashley District Nine, but, based on all he has done thus far, he has demonstrated that he has the intellectual capacity and fortitude to guide municipal affairs beyond his district, especially in case of policy matters related to history where his efforts have already born fruit. Barry is also determined to make sure that our infrastructure can handle any new development, which is certainly not the case now. He wants to limit large-scale apartment developments and put a stop to any new hotels. Barry saw his hometown ruined by overdevelopment, and he is determined to be a part of the solution in preserving the special character of the city he now holds dear. This new father of one little girl is the right generation to bring a fresh and clear voice to Charleston City Council, and he deserves vigorous support.