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Lovelady wins Ward 3 City Council seat, resolves April tiebreaker

Roy Lovelady won a runoff for City Council Third Ward in Tuesday’s special election, unseating a long-time incumbent — and finally breaking a tie in the regular city election.

Lovelady, 38, and incumbent Karl Skala, 75, each received 1,102 votes in the initial election April 5. Neither candidate requested a recount or agreed to a drawing — another alternative procedure — so a special election was declared.

This time around, Lovelady pulled ahead with 1,419 votes. Skala received 1,269 votes.

Council members assist the mayor in creating policies and enacting laws. Skala, who has served in the position for 12 years, said in previous Missourian reporting that “I have no (other political) aspirations. City Council for me is as good as it gets.”

As of Tuesday, he will forfeit that role. Lovelady will step in for the coming three years at the next council meeting Aug. 15.

Lovelady — who said he will prioritize equal opportunities for housing, employment and business, and green spaces — expressed gratitude to those in his life for his win.

“I’m grateful to the people; I want to thank them so much for voting because without their votes, I couldn’t be in this position,” said Lovelady. “But again, God first — God first. And my mother, who is not here with us right now, but most definitely, she planted the seed for me to grow into this beautiful flower that I am right now.”

An activist and the founder of People’s Defense, an organization that gives food and backpacks to the community and connects people facing criminal charges with lawyers, Lovelady is also a Columbia business owner. His dance studio and hair salon, called 360 Star, survived the COVID-19 pandemic by merging together rather than shutting down.

Opponent Skala reflected on his campaign as successful, taking pride in his creating office hours – a tradition Lovelady hopes to continue.

“Now it’s time that I set up some coffee hours and get out into the community and actually hear what the people want,” Lovelady said.

The Columbia Missourian is a community news organization managed by professional editors and staffed by Missouri School of Journalism students who do the reporting, design, copy editing, information graphics, photography and multimedia.