- Photos by Lana Eklund
Hear firsthand from the two third-ward candidates.
The April 5 election for Columbia City Council’s Third Ward seat ended with challenger Roy Lovelady and four-term incumbent Karl Skala both collecting 1,102 votes. A special election to fill the seat will take place during Missouri’s Primary Election Day on August 2.
What is each candidate’s vision for the city’s future? How do they feel about this election ending in the city’s first-ever tie? Get to know the candidates, and learn more about what drives their passion for strengthening COMO’s future.
Hometown? Born in Kennett, Missouri and moved to COMO at the age of 13.
Years Lived in COMO? 25 years
Professional background? I own and operate 360 Star Styling Studio.
Why are you running for city council? I’m running because of the lack of representation. I’d like to see change in Ward 3. I’ve learned in my few short years of going to city hall the importance of the position, and anytime I get the opportunity to learn, that inspires me. I’m a people person, and I help behind the scenes, but this is an opportunity to be out in front, inspire others, and make sure all voices are heard.
Feelings about this last election ending in a tie? No comment
Vision for COMO? Fair, equitable, unified, unbiased growth for all.
Biggest challenges facing COMO? Rising violence, lack of communication from city to citizens, and, of course, trash.
Biggest opportunities for COMO? Equitable growth from the smaller issues to the larger issues. Viewing the city and its growth with an equitable lens allows everyone to feel wanted, welcomed, and appreciated.
What you do for fun? Wake up and live. Life is fun, and I’m going to have fun doing everything I do. Some of my hobbies include sewing, dancing, hair, make-up, reading, relaxing with friends, performing, and hosting shows.
Greatest strength? I’m a great listener. In order to be a leader, one must listen, understand, and then apply great problem-solving skills to what once was a problem. My mother taught me that life is problem and solution, and that’s simply what I apply to everything.
Greatest weakness? I’m an over-thinker. I think things through, and I play out different outcomes in my mind, sometimes leading to stress. Most of the time, it leads to me being prepared for the situation or outcome.
Favorite volunteer/community activity? I teach dance as one of my community givebacks. It allows me to spend time with the youth teaching them a skill and keeping them motivated while imparting knowledge that will help them in their future. I also founded People’s Defense with a few others and the help that we did, with school supplies, helping with home assistance, food giveaways and more, are things and opportunities I look forward to and thoroughly enjoy.
Favorite place in COMO? My home – it’s my safe haven and where I’m most at peace. Second would be my church, then any place I am with friends and family.
Accomplishment you are most proud of? Being a business owner for 19 years, running for council, and making history. I appreciate the small things and the people around me.
Hometown? Berwyn/Brookfield, Illinois
Years Lived in COMO? 42 years
Professional background? I am a U.S. Marine Corps Veteran, husband, father of three, grandfather of two, four-term third ward city councilman, and COMO’s former Mayor Pro Tem. I am the former vice-chair, a seven-year member of the Columbia Planning and Zoning Commission, and a former chair and 13-year member of the Columbia/Boone County Environment and Energy Commission. I am also a 12-year member of Columbia Chamber of Commerce and its Government Affairs Committee.
Why are you running for city council? I care about COMO, and I want to make sure the third ward receives its share of city services as we continue to grow and progress. I bring leadership experience, institutional memory, continuity, community connections, and competence to achieve results for the city and the ward.
Feelings about this last election ending in a tie? Surprise and recommitment.
Vision for COMO? Realizing the principles of the 2021 Columbia Strategic Plan Mission Statement: To serve the public equitably through democratic, transparent, and efficient government and strategic priorities — organizational excellence, resilient economy, reliable infrastructure, safe neighborhoods, and inclusive communities. These are the high-level buckets through which we organize our work.
Biggest challenges facing COMO? Public safety, affordable housing, public transportation, and workforce development are among our biggest challenges. We are also challenged to engage in constructive community dialogue and ease the coarseness of public discourse.
Biggest opportunities for COMO? We can make a real difference in peoples’ lives by making good decisions on the use of federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act and the Build Back Better Act. We need to improve mental health and homeless services, public transportation, and development of good job opportunities.
What you do for fun? I’m a classical music DJ on KOPN and previously served on the board. Family, travel, photography, singing with our church choir, and with the MU Choral Union are my other passions.
Greatest strength? Preparation and attention to detail.
Greatest weakness? The challenge of describing complex issues in simple terms.
Favorite volunteer/community activity? Public Service and MU Choral Union.
Favorite place in COMO? Stephens Lake Park (among the many fine third ward parks and trails).
Accomplishment you are most proud of? I am proud that I was the first councilperson to host Saturday morning coffee shop “Office Hours” (ongoing for 14 years). I’m also proud of my role in establishing Columbia’s Comprehensive Plan, Strategic Plan, and Unified Development Code.