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Each election year, KBIA sits down with local candidates to hear what they have to say on their own terms. Some of these candidates you might see on TV every day. Others might be familiar by name only, if that. But KBIA interviews them all so that you can be informed when you go to the polls in November.

Intersection - A Conversation with Columbia's First Ward City Council Candidates

Columbia's First Ward City Council candidates joined us to share their priorities. The election is April 4. Candidates discussed their views on housing, infrastructure, community policing and social equity.



Candidate Andrew Hutchinson on investing in current businesses and communities.

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Candidate and current council member Clyde Ruffin on growing employment opportunities with livable wages to address poverty in Columbia.

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Each of the candidates highlighted the overlapping issues of homelessness, social equity, community policing and infrastructure as most important for the city's First Ward.

  • Kelley discussed affordable housing and preservation of existing housing to address homelessness. “I think there are a lot of opportunities that we miss as far as programs like effective reentry programs, treatment programs, [and] code enforcement to preserve housing that we have so there’s more housing stock available.”
  • Ruffin connected education and employment as key to addressing homelessness and economic and racial disparities. “Anything that we can do to provide sufficient opportunities for training or job preparation, anything we can do to raise the graduation rates particularly for African Americans… those are things we can actually support at the level of city government.”
  • Hutchinson says community oriented policing is important to the First Ward. “I think community policing occupies a very special interest for the first ward representative and is something we should speak up on."
Sara Shahriari was the assistant news director at KBIA-FM, and she holds a master's degree from the Missouri School of Journalism. Sara hosted and was executive producer of the PRNDI award-winning weekly public affairs talk show Intersection. She also worked with many of KBIA’s talented student reporters and teaches an advanced radio reporting lab. She previously worked as a freelance journalist in Bolivia for six years, where she contributed print, radio and multimedia stories to outlets including Al Jazeera America, Bloomberg News, the Guardian, the Christian Science Monitor, Deutsche Welle and Indian Country Today. Sara’s work has focused on mental health, civic issues, women’s and children’s rights, policies affecting indigenous peoples and their lands and the environment. While earning her MA at the Missouri School of Journalism, Sara produced the weekly Spanish-language radio show Radio Adelante. Her work with the KBIA team has been recognized with awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and PRNDI, among others, and she is a two-time recipient of funding from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.
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