First, Second and Sixth Ward elections bring fresh faces to City Council

Rev. Clyde Ruffin took the First Ward with 327 votes.

Columbia City Council gained two new faces and maintained the presence of a member during elections Tuesday.

Columbia residents voted for candidates in the First Ward, Second Ward and Sixth Ward. Two propositions on the ballot to improve city infrastructure were also approved by voters.

First Ward, which encompasses much of MU’s campus, was open after former councilwoman Ginny Chadwick resigned.

Rev. Clyde Ruffin won the First Ward race with 327 votes, according to the Boone County Clerk’s office. John Clark received 203, followed by Rob Stewart with 227, Rob Rasmussen with 182, Dan Rader with 182 and Sal Nuccio with 43. Nuccio withdrew from the race Monday night in a Facebook post.

There are 9,174 voters registered in the First Ward, according to the Boone County Clerk’s Office. In April 2014, Chadwick won the seat with 525 out of only 777 votes cast.

Ruffin is a pastor at the Second Missionary Baptist Church and is also a theatre professor at MU. He joined the faculty in 1983 and served as chair of the theatre department from 1990 to 1995.

During a council candidate forum March 12, Ruffin addressed issues facing students, such as housing.

“Economic development ties into affordable housing because it helps home buyers be able to afford housing,” Ruffin said, according to a March 18 Maneater article.

In 2012, Ruffin received the President’s Community Engagement Award, according to a April 3, 2012 Maneater article. The award is given to those who are “engaged in exemplary community engagement activities such as volunteerism," according to the UM System’s website for the President’s Award for Faculty Engagement.

Ruffin has also received the Martin Luther King Community Service Award in 2004, MLK Dream Foundation’s “Man of the Year” in 2006, MU Faculty-Alumni Award and the Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Research and Creative Activity, according to the theatre department’s website.

Three First Ward candidates were MU students: senior Jake Loft, who received 46 votes, senior Chad Phillips and Nate Brown, who is pursuing a bachelor’s degree and a Public Relations Manager at the Reynolds Journalism Institute, who got 138 votes. Phillips was a write-in candidate and received 35 votes. MU students combined had 219 votes.

Though First Ward affects students, they won’t vote, Loft said before the election.

“The fact is, students don’t vote,” Loft said. “It’s just unlikely that they’ll come to the polls.”

Students should be invested in city issues, like Tobacco 21, bringing Uber to Columbia and decriminalizing marijuana, Loft said.

Second Ward candidate Michael Trapp was up for reelection against challenger Paul Love. Trapp won with 877 votes compared to Love’s 794.

Sixth Ward member Barbara Hoppe left the council. Candidates Ryan Euliss and Elizabeth “Betsy” Peters ran for her position with Peters pulling ahead with 770 votes compared to Euliss’ 735.

Two propositions were also voted on. Proposition One would increase electric costs six percent over a five year period for electric customers to pay for Columbia Water and Light electric projects, according to the Columbia Missouri Chamber of Commerce website. This proposition passed with 7,886 votes for “yes” and 3,601 votes for “no.” Proposition Two would create a rate adjustment to address inadequate stormwater systems. Proposition Two also passed with 6,741 votes for “yes” opposed to 4,641 votes for “no.”

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