In Their Words: Pam Forbes

A part of a continuing series on Columbia’s First Ward election

Pam Forbes is running for the open First Ward spot on the Columbia City Council. She said her signature pink stool is a sign of her willingness to sit down and listen to the people she represents.

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.

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