CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Clay Middleton announced on Thursday his bid for mayor of Charleston.

Middleton, a decorated combat veteran and community leader, served as director of Business Services for the City of Charleston. He was also an Obama appointee and longtime aide to Congressman Jim Clyburn, according to his announcement.

“Everything good that has been given to me has come through the city of Charleston. But currently, it’s become a city I barely recognize,” said Middleton. “Charleston can and must be a city that works for everyone.”

Middleton said he hopes to solve problems and create opportunities to ensure the city’s “future is stronger because the quality of life for our residents, the opportunities for our youth and the value of our seniors is second to none,” he said.

Middleton grew up in Bayside Manor and attended both the Charleston Catholic School and Burke High School. He later graduated from The Citadel in 2003.

“Charleston did not plan for life after gentrification and the further development that it brings. Our city needs both the vision and the leadership to achieve the mission of making Charleston an equitable city for all its residents,” he said.

He went on to say, “Livability does not have to be exclusive to a few and inconvenient for most. Residents and visitors can co-exist. We can have a city working for natives, visitors, developers, entrepreneurs, new residents, those from every social economic background, culture, and creed if we are united, focused, and motivated to do so.  Sometimes improvement simply requires a new brick in an old foundation.”

Middleton served 22 years in the SC Army National Guard and holds the rank of Lieutenant Colonel serving as a Battalion Commander.

Meanwhile, Charleston City Councilmember Peter Shahid announced his campaign for mayor in April. Both will run against incumbent Mayor John Tecklenburg.

The mayoral race will be held in 2023.