Meet Your Elected Officials

Council Members of the City of Travelers Rest are residents who care deeply about the quality of life of our constituents, businesses, business owners, and visitors. Each council member brings a different life and career perspective to decision making for the City to give us a diversity of thought and representation. We proudly serve our community by listening, caring and making decisions that push us towards betterment and suitability as a city and a community.

Brandy Amidon, Mayor

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Brandy was elected to Mayor of Travelers Rest in January 2018. As the first female to be elected to that office, Brandy is the youngest Mayor in town’s history. She’s served on the City Council of Travelers Rest since 2010 and for the last two years, as Mayor Pro Tem. She’s a founding member of Let’s Keep TR Beautiful, a local group dedicated to positive promotion and beautification of Travelers Rest and currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors for SC Appalachian Council of Governments. She’s also served on the board for Travelers Rest Historical Society and the Greater Chamber of Commerce of Travelers Rest. Brandy is Co-President and CFO for Brains on Fire, Inc., a creative agency focused on branding, identity and community building. She’s been married for sixteen years to Steven Amidon and Mom to a their five year old daughter, Annabelle Grace Amidon. Read the latest articles and excerpts from the Mayor’s desk here.

Harvey Choplin, Mayor Pro Tempore

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Harvey Choplin is a former high school and middle school educator and Principal at Travelers Rest High School. He is in his seventh, four-year term on City Council. Harvey is retired but does adjunct work at Furman University in the Education Department. He also supervises student teachers at Southern Wesleyan and Lander University. Harvey has lived in Travelers Rest since 1971.

Grant Bumgarner, Council Member

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Grant Bumgarner came to South Carolina in 1993 to be a funeral director. He continues in that profession at Mackey Mortuary in Greenville and Dillard Funeral Home in Pickens. He started his tenure on Travelers Rest City Council in 2004 and is currently chair of the Ways and Means Committee and vice-chair of the Planning and Development committee.

 Kelly Byers, Council Member

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Kelly Byers loves Travelers Rest and is honored to serve on City Council. Kelly is a Certified Fund Raising Executive and is the Director of Individual Giving at the Peace Center, and previously worked in Community Engagement roles at Roper Mountain Science Center and The Family Effect.

Meaningful community involvement is incredibly important to Kelly. She currently serves on the boards of Travelers Rest Farmers Market, Foothills Family Resources, Greenville First Steps, Euphoria, and is the President of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, PIedmont Chapter. Additionally, Kelly served in previous volunteer leadership roles with United Way’s Jobs to Careers and Women in Science and Engineering; Greenville Chamber’s Greenville Young Professionals, Greenville Women @ Work, and Leadership Greenville Alumni; Serenity Village, Read Greenville, Gardening for Good, Momentum Bike Club, and Upstate South Carolina Association of Volunteer Administrators (President),

Kelly earned her Bachelor’s degree at Presbyterian College and her Master’s at the University of Georgia. She is a graduate of Leadership Greenville Class 41, awarded Best and Brightest 35 under 35 in 2017, and the recipient of the AFP Piedmont Chapter’s Young Philanthropist Award in 2017. Kelly enjoys the outdoors, yoga, running, reading, writing, gardening, farmer’s markets, travel, and doing improv with Alchemy Comedy Theatre. Kelly and Tom live in Travelers Rest with their three goats, two dogs, one cat, and a handful of goldfish.

Shaniece Criss, Council Member

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Shaniece Criss loves serving Travelers Rest though her commitment to maintaining the town’s community connection and charming character. Often, you will see Councilmember Criss at town events with her friends and family, as well as, constantly communicating with residents in-person and on social media. She is committed to advocating for proactive, community-engaged development. She supports local businesses and attends the Greater Travelers Rest Chamber of Commerce meetings to stay informed. Public safety and public works are really important to her.

Dr. Criss is a health science faculty member at Furman University and public health researcher. She is committed to community involvement and serves on the board for Prisma Health, Public Education Partners, Dining for Women, SC YMCA Youth in Government, and Reconcile Community Church. In the past, she served on the Greenville County Human Relations Commission and Travelers Rest Municipal Election Commission. Recently, she has been named a “ChangeMaker” by the Jefferson Awards Foundation and a Greenville County Schools Hall of Fame Inductee.

Councilmember Criss graduated from Southside High School and the Fine Arts Center. She received her undergraduate degree in communications from Oglethorpe University and a Master of Public Health from Emory University. In addition, Dr. Criss earned her Doctor of Science degree from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and a Master in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Previously, she held positions at ICF International, Centers for Disease Control, CNN, and the Peace Corps as the producer and host of a national television show for the Ministry of Health in Guyana, South America.

Rick Floyd, Council Member

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Rick Floyd has been serving on Travelers Rest City Council since 2014. He currently serves as the Public Safety Committee Chairman. He retired from Law Enforcement in 2011, and currently works for the Greenville County School District, in Information/Network Security. He enjoys working in the public sector and serving residents and businesses in Travelers Rest. He is a graduate of the Basic and Advance Municipal Association of South Carolina, Municipal Elected Officials Institute and has lived in Travelers Rest with his family for over 20 years. He lives in Watson Crossing and enjoys being in the close proximity of Trailblazer Park, the Swamp Rabbit Trail and Downtown Travelers Rest. As a runner and biker, he spends lots of time on the Swamp Rabbit Trail and in the Downtown area of Travelers Rest.

 Jeff George, Council Member

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Jeff George grew up in Travelers Rest where he and his wife are now enjoying raising their four beautiful children.  He served on City Council since 2009 and is currently filling the last year of a vacated term. He’s served as Co-Chair on the Ways and Means Committee as well as the Public Safety, and the Public Works committees over the years. Jeff is also a member of various other committees. He is currently helping develop the city’s Bicycle Master Plan and was helpful in the selection of the Fire Station architects.

 Brantly Vest, Council Member

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Brantly is proud to call Travelers Rest his hometown. He was elected to Travelers Rest City Council in January 2018. He currently serves as the Planning and Development Committee Chairman and is also a member of the Public Safety and Personnel Committees. Brantly has worked with Duke Energy for over ten years, currently as a Business Energy Advisor. He is a graduate of Travelers Rest High School and Clemson University. Community involvement is very important to Brantly. He is a former member of the Travelers Rest Farmers Market Board of Directors and is currently an active member at Grace Church in Travelers Rest. Brantly has been married to his wife, Logan since 2014. They recently welcomed their daughter, Rollins in March of 2019.

Sara Gilstrap, Council Member

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As a life long resident, Sara Gilstrap loves Travelers Rest and is honored to serve on City Council. Sara is a Marketing Strategist for Waypost Marketing, with a degree in Hotel, Restaurant And Tourism Management from the University of South Carolina. Sara has been helping B2B companies revamp and accelerate their marketing efforts for more than a decade. Her past employment history is packed with skills such as corporate event planning, project management, outdoor advertising, and marketing campaigns for manufacturing companies.

Sara has been actively involved with the Travelers Rest Farmers Market for the past six years as a volunteer and as a member of the board of directors. While serving on the board as Vice President and President, Sara said that she has witnessed how it truly “takes a village” for our community to thrive.

Sara and Matthew were married in Trailblazer Park in 2017 and they have “his and her’s” daughters