MAYORAL ELECTION: Columbia residents discus what they want to see from a new leader

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO) — With three-term mayor Steve Benjamin not seeking re-election, the city of Columbia may have a new mayor elected after tomorrow.

Four candidates are hoping to become the new leader of the city: Moe Badourrah, Tameika Isaac Devine, Sam Johnson and Daniel Rickemann.

“I wouldn’t have the job because it.seems very difficult,” said Carlos Smith, born and raised in Columbia.

As someone who grew up in Columbia, Smith says the city needs a leader with a long term plan.

“A mayor who has vision for not only 5 or 10 years from now but 15 or 20 years from now,” Smith said.

He adds that the new mayor needs to be someone who knows the major issues that people care about.

“Personally, I would like to see more development in the downtown area where we are now,” said Columbia resident Roderick Williams.

“Opportunities for people to be able to grow their passion,” said another resident, Chayanne Marin.

“The homelessness, education, economic development,” Smith said.

“I know Columbia, like a lot of big cities in the south, has a pretty big problem with the homeless population,” Williams adds. “I can’t think of a better cause than helping out people like that.”

Public safety in general is a big talking point for both candidates and residents alike.

“Just want to make sure the college students and businesses are protected,” said Columbia resident Joshua Scott.

 “We need something for the kids to do around here. There’s too much violence going on,” said another resident, Charles Clay. “Another thing, we need these streets repaved.”

Most people mentioned the potential that Columbia has for the future.

“I feel like Columbia could be a bigger city in the south if the money was put in the right areas,” Williams said.

“There’s all kinds of different programs that could be brought to the city,” Scott said. “Housing programs could be brought here because there’s a lot of housing developments that need to be revamped in this city.”

Some already know who they are voting for.

“I’m for Tameika Isaac Devine,” Smith said.

Others have yet to make up their mind.

“No I haven’t. I’m still deciding,” Scott said. “Hopefully soon I’ll know the answer.”

Not just Columbia residents, but also business owners have an opinion on who they think should be the next mayor.  The owner of 2.50 Cleaners says she thinks Sam Johnson is the best choice. Whether it will be Johnson, Moe Badourrah, Tameika Isaac Devine or Daniel Rickenmann remains to be seen at the polls.

Two of the candidates are current council members, Devine and Rickenmann. Badourrah is a former councilman and Johnson served as former chief of staff for the current mayor.

Polls will be open from 7 am to 7 pm tomorrow.

Categories: Local News, Richland