Meet the candidates for Columbia City Council District IV

By Drew Stewart - bio | email

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Voters will decide the city's next mayor and vote on three city council seats on April 6, and one of those seats is District IV. Voters in southeast Columbia have five candidates gunning for their votes.

Mary Baskins Waters says if she's elected her major focus will be working with the city's neighborhoods. As president-elect of the Columbia Council of Neighborhoods, she wants to see more cooperation among Columbia residents, including growth in that organization.

"I'd like to see that grow to 125 neighborhoods," said Waters.
We caught up with candidate and former City Manager Leona Plaugh in the Old Woodlands community.

"II plan to change the whole attitude about how government is run," said Plaugh. "We've got to be more responsive and more receptive to how city government is run."
For Walter Powell, a volunteer firefighter, city safety is job number one. He wants to implement a police reserve officer program.

"Mainly because I care," said Powell. "I care about the people and I care about the citizens of Columbia."
Kevin Fisher is running for city office for the second time. Well known for his criticism of city government, Fisher says voters have a rare chance to make a new start in city government.

"We're going to have a new mayor and at least two new members of council," said Fisher. "For the first chance in 20 years there's a chance to implement real change at City Hall."
Former Richland County Councilman Tony Mizzell says his eight years on County Council gives him the experience for a more efficient government.

"I am the only candidate that can say I have the relationships to the table to bridge city and county relations," said Mizzell.

We also asked each candidate how they would solve the city's multi-million dollar budget problems.

"Everyone has been put on notice that the past wrongs are unacceptable and we can not go into the future asleep at the wheel," said Waters.

"I think the solution is to build the tax base and have people invest in the city," said Plaugh.

"If we don't have the money we don't spend it," said Powell.

"People are demanding financial responsibility on city council," said Fisher.

"I have experience managing complex budgets," said Mizzell. "I'll use that experience to hit the ground running and come up with creative solutions and ideas to get the budget back in balance."

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