Columbia city council meets for first time since Joe Taylor’s passing, authorizes special election

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Published: Jan. 4, 2023 at 10:18 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - On Wednesday night, the Columbia City Council authorized a special election to fill the seat held by District 4 Councilman Joe Taylor Jr., who died last week.

This is the first time the council met since Taylor’s death.

The city is required by state law to pass a resolution approving a special election if a sitting council member dies while in office.

The meeting was brief but emotional. Flowers were placed by Taylor’s seat.

Before the council passed the resolution, they held a moment of silence in honor of Taylor.

Filing for candidates opens Friday, Jan. 13, at noon and continues through January 23 at noon.

The deadline to register to vote in the special election is February 27, with the election day 30 days later on March 28.

The special election will also include new census maps that were originally set to go into effect for the November election for the Districts 2 and 3 seats.

The new map does slightly change former Councilman Taylor’s district, adding parts of the Forest Hills neighborhood.

Taylor is remembered as a business and community leader in the capital city.

Before joining the council, he served as South Carolina’s commerce secretary and helped deliver Boeing to Charleston.

Following the meeting, Columbia Mayor Daniel Rickenmann spoke to WIS about Taylor’s legacy, saying that the state lost “a giant, a champion.”

“Joe Taylor gave his heart and soul for his family and his community,” he said. “Columbia, West Columbia, and the state of South Carolina as a whole benefited from his dedication. He was always fighting for us, always wanted us to be better.”

Rickenmann said there was no bigger champion for the “small guy, the small business” than his friend and colleague.

WIS asked the mayor what Taylor meant to him personally.

“He was a close friend, he was family,” Rickenmann said. “I mean we traveled together, we did a lot of things together, we shared our passion for food and drink and our community. I mean this job is about caring about our community, and I learned a lot from him. We shared a lot of laughs and a lot of great, great times together.”

Taylor taught Rickenmann to always put the citizens of Columbia first.

“All 139,000 first, not just one group,” Rickenmann said.

Rickenmann hopes that Taylor’s replacement will be as dedicated to improving the city as he was.

“There’s some unfinished business that he was working on that we want to make sure gets done,” he said. “We’re not going to be able to fill his void, but we’re going to live up to his expectations.”

Taylor’s funeral will take place on Thursday at 1 p.m., at First Presbyterian Church in Columbia.

Governor Henry McMaster announced that flags at the State House will be lowered to half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Thursday in honor of Taylor’s extraordinary legacy and a lifetime of service to the State of South Carolina.

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