COLUMBIA – Rick Buford, a senior network administrator at CarFax, is running for the Fourth Ward City Council seat.
Buford joins Sarah Read, an attorney and communications consultant, and Tracy Greever-Rice, associate director of community and economic development at the MU Office of Social and Economic Data Analysis, in the run for the seat Jerry Wade will leave vacant when he runs for mayor.
Wade, Sal Nuccio, Sid Sullivan and Paul Love have all announced they will seek the position of mayor; incumbent Darwin Hindman announced in August that he would not seek a sixth term after serving 15 years.
Buford is concerned with what he said he perceives as a rise in crime in Columbia.
“It seems much worse than it was three or four years ago,” he said, adding that while he understands data collected by the city might indicate a decline in crime, he thinks there should be some differentiation between crimes such as “drunk teens partying and home break-ins.”
He wants to make sure the council discusses how to ensure returns on investments made by the city. He has experience in this field through his job, where he said he works on finding solutions to problems that might not be immediate but could become issues in a few years.
Buford said he also would like to address concerns people brought up when he was getting signatures for his petition to run for the council, such as stormwater drainage and the underuse of Dublin Avenue Park, a small park in the Dubradis neighborhood on the western edge of the Fourth Ward.
Buford has worked for nine years at CarFax, and he previously worked for MU.
He said he can offer the council “a reasonable average citizen’s viewpoint.”
He said he would like to see more average citizens run for council, which he doesn’t think “requires special training; it’s not reserved for a select few.”
“I’m not out to change the world or even radically change the city,” Buford said. “I want my girls to feel safe walking to school.”
The filing period for council seats ends in late January. The position of Third Ward council representative, currently held by Karl Skala, also will be up for election in April. Skala thus far is the only person to announce he will seek the seat.
Those running for council must collect signatures from at least 50 registered voters in their wards and submit them to the city clerk for validation. Candidates for mayor must collect at least 100 signatures, but not more than 150, from registered voters citywide.