Elected in 2008, Elise Partin is a nonpartisan leader who holds the distinction of being the first female to serve in the office of Mayor in Cayce, South Carolina, a historic city across the Congaree River from the state capital of Columbia, S.C. A leader on numerous boards including the Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Center for Livable Communities, Elise is on faculty at the Buckley School of Public Speaking and teaches a popular course “Demystifying Elected Office” at the #1 ranked public University of South Carolina Honors College. She is known as a devoted servant-leader who builds consensus, activates innovations and accomplishes the unimaginable.
Voted in via special election in November 2008 to a two-year term and re-elected to a full four-year term in 2010, 2014 and 2018, she has been recognized for her focus on economic development, her strong representation of Cayce’s diverse residents and her efforts to promote regionalism and ethics reform while protecting taxpayer dollars. Under her leadership, Cayce has been recognized as one of the top 10 most tax-friendly places to retire in South Carolina and as the number one city in S.C. for recent graduates and millennials.
Mayor Elise Partin is a past president of the Municipal Association of South Carolina and currently serves on the Executive Committee of the Central Midlands Council of Governments. She serves on the Lexington County Joint Municipal Water and Sewer Commission, the board of the Lexington County Development Corporation, and the board of the River Alliance. She is a member of the Association of South Carolina Mayors and is a past president of the Lexington County Municipal Association.
In 2015, to benefit her city, she was invited to participate in the prestigious and selective Mayors Institute for City Design, which is a collaboration of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the National Endowment for the Arts and the American Institute of Architects.
A Leadership Columbia graduate, Mayor Elise Partin is the only person to have served as president of both the Leadership Columbia Board and the Leadership Columbia Alumni Association Board. In 2012 she became a Furman University Riley Institute Diversity Leaders Initiative Fellow. She is a 2015 graduate of Leadership South Carolina and was the first female president of the Columbia Museum of Art Contemporaries, the museum’s membership organization for young professionals. She currently serves on the board of the Columbia Film Society and the Nickelodeon Theatre.
As her wide range of service demonstrates, Mayor Partin is not only keenly interested in the healthy governance of the City of Cayce but is fully committed to building the strong regional partnerships necessary to move the entire Midlands region forward. To that end, she partnered with her neighboring Mayor from Columbia, S.C. and played a key leadership role in creating and sustaining the Midlands Mayors Forum, focused on stronger collaborations and establishing a unified voice for impact. She is also board Vice Chair at EngenuitySC, an organization whose mission is to increase the competitiveness of the Midlands Region of SC. She believes so deeply in the need for all of us to get involved in elected office that she gave a resounding call in her 2015 TEDxColumbiaSC speech.
Outside of her mayoral duties, Elise Partin is an Adjunct Faculty member in the Honors College, Political Science Department and the School of Public Health of the University of South Carolina. Additionally, she is faculty with the world-renowned Buckley School of Public Speaking. Elise is a popular speaker with audiences across the Southeast and beyond, and she is in demand for her talks on finding your voice and goal setting (particularly as a woman in leadership); running for elected office; and learning how to work with city government to get great things done — from a Mayor's perspective. She holds a Master of Public Health degree and is a member of the Delta Omega, Mu Chapter, honorary public health society. She is married and has two children.
In recognition of her accomplishments and her many contributions, Mayor Partin was named as one of Columbia Regional Business Report’s Outstanding Women of Influence in 2011, nominated as a recipient of the Palmetto Center for Women’s TWIN Award in 2012, and was Honored as a Woman of Distinction by Girl Scouts of South Carolina - Mountains to Midlands in 2013. In 2014 she was named as one of Southeast Small Business Magazine’s “Top Women of Influence.” She has been recognized in the Free Times’ “Fifty People Who Get Things Done in the Capital City” in both 2014 and 2015, Free Times’ Power 50 in 2016 and 2017, Free Times’ Next 50 in 2018 and 2019, and as one of Columbia Business Monthly’s “50 Most Influential” each year from 2016 to 2018. In 2019, she was honored as the Public Servant of the Year by the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce.
Other past leadership positions and honors have included the following:
- Co-Chair, University of South Carolina Provost’s Committee on Women’s Issues, 2003
- Mentor, University of South Carolina’s Women’s Mentoring Network, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001
- President, Board of Directors, Columbia Museum of Art Contemporaries, 2000
- Volunteer Chair, Executive Committee, March of Dimes Star Chef’s Fund Raiser, 1999, 2000
- Winner, Glenn Jacobus Leadership Award, Leadership Columbia, 1999
About Mayor Elise Partin
Elected in 2008 and re-elected in 2010, 2014 and 2018, Elise Partin is Cayce, S.C.'s first female mayor. Mayor Partin prioritizes fiscal responsibility, community needs and economic development, with a focus on empowering citizens, providing strong leadership, fostering open communication and enhancing quality of life in Cayce. Mayor Partin serves on several influential boards in the Midlands and works as an adjunct professor at her alma mater, the University of South Carolina and faculty at the Buckley School of Public Speaking. For more information on Mayor Partin, visit www.elisepartin.com.
About The City of Cayce, S.C.
The City of Cayce, S.C., is located on the banks of the Congaree River in the heart of the Midlands of South Carolina, just across from the state capital of Columbia. An area with a documented 12,000-year history, the city has several public events, venues, and parks; the beautiful Cayce Riverwalk Park offers more than 12 miles of scenic walkway in addition to the 46 acres of park area in the City. Cayce has a Council-Manager form of government; City Council meets on the first Tuesday of each month at 6:00 pm at City Hall.
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