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Rincon City Council adds public service veteran
Ben Blackwell
Mayor Pro Tem Patrick Kirkland administers the oath of office to Jesse "Ben" Blackwell Jr. before the start of Monday's Rincon City Council meeting. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff

RINCON — Jesse “Ben” Blackwell Jr.’s role in city government has changed considerably. His focus remains the same, however.

Elevated from the Planning Board, Blackwell was sworn in as a Rincon City Council member Monday night. He was appointed to succeed Ann Daniel, who resigned last month with six months left in her four-year term.

Blackwell said the issues that he routinely addressed on the Planning Board will continue to be his primary concerns.

“Especially with the growth coming in,” Blackwell said after Monday’s regularly scheduled council meeting. “With any kind of new business coming in, we really looked at drainage, traffic, lights. With subdivisions, most of them have to have retention ponds so we were really looking big with drainage on them, too, to make sure that we didn’t have issues in the future.”

Drainage worries played a role in Blackwell opting to move his family to Rincon in 1996. 

“We came up here because of the small-town atmosphere and to get some higher ground,” he said. “We came up here from Pooler and we were flood victims at one time.”

Blackwell works in Pooler., He is a chemist at Johnson Matthey, a British multinational chemicals and technologies company

“They’ve got places all over — Russia, China, Poland, Germany, Africa, India — and they are into a little bit of everything,” Blackwell said. “I’m on the oil side. We work with the oil refineries.

“We make additives that help the oil refineries make gasoline and diesel.”

Blackwell said he envisioned being on the city council one day but didn’t expect it to happen so soon.

“I was thinking maybe four years down the road, not (the 2021) election but maybe the following one,” he said. “I was honored that I was approached about taking over for Ann Daniel. I will have to see if I will put my name in the hat (and run for a full term) when the time comes.

“I’ll have to feel out how this goes first.”

The election qualifying period is next month.