COLUMBIA — Tracy Greever-Rice, associate director of Community and Economic Development at the Office of Social and Economic Data Analysis at MU, said Wednesday that she is running for the Fourth Ward City Council seat.
The seat will be left vacant by Jerry Wade, who is running for mayor. Sarah Read, an attorney and communications consultant, announced Tuesday that she also is running for the Fourth Ward seat.
Greever-Rice, who earned a doctorate in rural sociology at MU and is now a graduate student at the Missouri School of Journalism, said she has learned a lot about Columbia by living here at three distinctly different stages.
“Columbia is in a period of growth in which important decisions will have to be made in the next few years," Greever-Rice said.
She believes her combined background in studying demographic trends, economic development and human services would serve the council well.
Greever-Rice serves as vice chairwoman of the Vision Committee and an alternate member of the Board of Adjustment. She is a former member of the Planning and Zoning, and Environment and Energy commissions. She said that service has given her “a sense of how areas of concern are addressed.”
There are four areas Greever-Rice will address in her campaign: economic development, infrastructure, public safety and transparent government.
“The first and most important is economic development,” Greever-Rice said. She believes there are two ways to address economic development: to nurture start-up businesses by Columbia residents or to attract existing businesses to relocate to Columbia.
“It’s unfortunate that the two ideas have been polarized,” Greever-Rice said.
Regarding infrastructure, Greever-Rice said it's important to balance new construction with maintenance of what the city already has.
“All property values are affected by the quality of infrastructure,” she said.
Greever-Rice thinks public safety in Columbia must be thought about in a broader sense than just crime. She said policymakers shouldn’t focus on single unusual incidents but instead should analyze trends in crime. She said she can bring her professional background in analyzing data to this area.
Transparent government has been a strength of Columbia that Greever-Rice wants to continue. "It should be inclusive and responsive."
As part of her job, Greever-Rice said she has developed the “skills to listen to people, understand many voices and articulate their strengths.” She said she'd like to bring that to the council.
The positions of mayor and Third Ward councilperson also will be filled in the April election. Incumbent Third Ward representative Karl Skala already has said he will seek a second term. Wade, Sal Nuccio, Sid Sullivan and Paul Love have declared their intent to run for mayor.
Candidates running for wards must collect a minimum of 50 signatures from registered voters in their ward. Greever-Rice said she has received and submitted her signatures to the city clerk for validation. The filing period for council seats ends in late January.