Pam Forbes is one of four candidates for the Columbia City Council's First Ward council person job, a position that represents parts of MU's campus and downtown. The Maneater sat down with Forbes for an interview on her candidacy and campaign goals.
The Maneater: How long have you lived in the area?
Forbes: I moved to Columbia in 1976. I lived here until my daughter was 11 and then we moved up to Harrisburg. I was there until five years ago, in October, when I bought a house on Donnelly.
M: Do you have any political experience?
Forbes: I’ve never held any offices. I am an appointed commissioner on the Community Development Commission, representing the First Ward, at this time.
M: Are there any issues that are close to your heart?
Forbes: I really want to do whatever I can to help the youth in the First Ward, and all over Columbia. I believe that we need a larger recreation center. I would push for more access to low-income youth and low-income families at arts and cultural venues, and maybe classes like musical instruments and art—things that will provide the young people with positive experiences.
M: Do you see any other problems in the ward that you think need to be addressed?
Forbes: Being on the Community Development Commission, we have been looking at the housing in the First Ward and there’s a lot of dilapidation; there’s vacant housing. The city’s actually rehabbing some now, but we really have to look at those issues and take care of that. We’ve neglected it for so long.
M: So, what’s with the pink stool?
F: As a representative of the First Ward, this stool is a symbol of my willingness to sit down and listen to the constituents that I represent and to be their voice.
M: What sets you apart from the other candidates, besides the stool?
Forbes: I’m a mother. I’ve worked in a factory setting for over 30 years. I think that I can represent the voices of the working people that live in my ward.
M: Do you have any groups that you would like to give a voice to?
Forbes: In the First Ward, I think that the African American community, the lower income people, the people with disabilities, the elderly and working families have all been underrepresented.
M: What can you do to help them?
Forbes: To begin with, I would voice their opinion, and then I would vote in a way that would be beneficial to them, and I wouldn’t be afraid to be the dissenting voice on the council.
M: With the economy as it is, do you have any plans for helping people in the ward overcome their financial difficulties?
Forbes: I feel like we need to develop more local industries: Things that are going to be here and stay here; things that are sustainable, hopefully that are green, that will employ our local people because I don’t believe that you can operate an economy on service industry, and I want to do as much as I can to help small business.