COLUMBIA — A new potential candidate for mayor of Columbia hopes to offer a fresh perspective by representing the interests of Columbia's youth.
Sean O'Day isn't a politician, and he acknowledged that he lacks the life experience other candidates possess. But the 23-year-old recently turned in his petition to run for mayor.
"I'd like to liven the debate and get our youth involved," he said.
O'Day, a Hallsville native who attended MU for one year before taking some time off, is now pursuing a bachelor's degree in physics and attending classes at Moberly Area Community College.* He's been a Columbia resident for four years.
"I think there's a lot of interesting things going on in the city, and I'd like to keep it that way," he said.
Protecting civil liberties and ensuring the city is fiscally and environmentally responsible also top his list of priorities.
"I think he can really help cultivate a place that is economically and environmentally sustainable," Phillip Berrong, a friend of O'Day's, said.
O'Day also wants to keep local control over spending decisions. "I don't want us to accept as much federal money that only leads to unsustainable projects," he said.
O'Day isn't worried about being younger than his competition. "I'm still learning, yes," he said. "But I have the drive to learn everything I need to know."
Berrong, 24, believes Columbia is ready for a younger person to take the reins of city government.
"Columbia is a young town," he said. "I think they're ready to elect one of their own."
O'Day has established a Facebook page for his campaign entitled "Sean O'Day for Mayor of Columbia, MO."
The new candidate joins Jerry Wade, Sid Sullivan, Paul Love and Sal Nuccio in the mayoral race. The position will be filled in the April 6 municipal election.
O'Day's petition still must be validated by City Clerk Sheela Amin.
Those interested in running for mayor must collect signatures from at least 100 and not more than 150 registered voters who are residents of Columbia. The Third Ward and Fourth Ward seats on the council also are up for election. Candidates for those positions must submit signatures from at least 50 registered voters who live in the wards they hope to represent. The deadline for filing petitions with the city clerk is 5 p.m. Thursday.
The Third Ward candidates thus far are incumbent Karl Skala and challenger Gary Kespohl. Fourth Ward candidates are Tracy Greever-Rice, Sarah Read and Rick Buford.