The Maneater

Treece elected mayor, Skala and Thomas stay in council

Issues of concern cited by the candidates were public safety, infrastructure and downtown development.

Sign at the corner of Broadway and South Garth Avenue and Broadway points local citizens toward the Columbia Public Library, one of the mayoral debate polling locations, on April 5. Brian Treece was elected with 52 percent of the votes.

The 2016 General Municipal Election didn’t have the same draw as the Missouri presidential primary March 15. With 25.7 percent of registered voters casting ballots Tuesday, Brian Treece was elected mayor, and Karl Skala and Ian Thomas were re-elected to the Third and Fourth wards’ city council spots, respectively.

Mayor

Brian Treece defeated his opponent Skip Walther with 52 percent of the vote. The mayoral election was notable for the large amounts of money spent by both campaigns, which ended up amounting to over $100,000.

Treece, a political consultant, ran on a platform of revitalizing public safety and city infrastructure.

“Columbia is a great city, but we have a few challenges right now,” Treece said on his campaign website. “Our public safety and basic infrastructure has not kept pace with our rate of growth.”

Third Ward

Incumbent Third Ward Councilman Karl Skala defeated the Rev. Tom Leuther of Family Worship Center with 56 percent of the vote.

According to his campaign website, Skala ran on a platform of public safety by increasing the number of police officers and emphasizing community policing. Skala also called for expanding technical training and encouraging startups in order to increase local employment and economic stability.

Fourth Ward

Incumbent Fourth Ward Councilman Ian Thomas was re-elected with 66 percent of the vote.

Thomas cited public safety, infrastructure, the local economy and social equity as the city’s important issues on his campaign website. In an interview with the Columbia Daily Tribune, Thomas said tension between new real estate developments and existing neighborhoods was the biggest issue facing the Fourth Ward.

Voter turnout

Voter turnout was low for the election, according to Boone County Clerk Election Results.

There were 19,444 ballots cast for Tuesday’s municipal elections, which is 20 percent of all registered voters in Boone County. This paled in comparison to the turnout for March’s presidential primary, which saw a voter turnout rate of 54 percent.

However, it was an increase over the previous municipal election in 2015, which had a voter turnout rate of 15 percent.

Despite the low turnout numbers, several MU students participated in the elections. Senior John Becker said these elections are an American right and opportunity.

“Every vote matters, so I take that into consideration,” Becker said. “Even though it’s only the local mayor election, and I may not be in Columbia two or three years from now, I still think it’s important to make sure the city’s going in the right direction.”

Sophomore Megan Tyminski shared Becker’s belief that voting should play an important role in student life.

“It’s a civic duty,” Tyminsk said. “You should pay attention to what’s going on in your community and be active in it.”

Edited by Hailey Stolze | hstolze@themaneater.com

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