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