New mayoral candidate focused on the economy and public safety

Sunday, January 17, 2010 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 4:53 p.m. CST, Tuesday, January 19, 2010

*CORRECTION: Columbia was founded in 1821. An earlier version of this article gave the incorrect year.

COLUMBIA – Robert McDavid, a retired obstetrician and a member of the Boone Hospital Board of Trustees for more than a decade, announced his candidacy for mayor Saturday afternoon.

McDavid made the announcement in front of the gazebo at Flat Branch Park — a fitting location, he said, because of its proximity to where Columbia was established in 1821* and the beginning of the MKT trail.


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“I expect this trailhead to mark the beginning of my tenure as mayor of Columbia.”

McDavid came to Columbia 43 years ago to earn his bachelor’s degree at MU. He met his wife Suzanne, who is now the nurse at Douglass High School and Alpha Hart Lewis Elementary School, shortly thereafter.

He then went to medical school here and received his specialty training in obstetrics at University Hospital.

McDavid, who has delivered 5,000 babies in Columbia, has since retired. He has been the chairman of the Boone Hospital Board of Trustees for two years and a member of the board for 12 years.

McDavid now hopes to use his experience to work with city staff and the Columbia City Council.

“I want to be mayor of Columbia because of our new economic reality,” he said. “Columbia needs fresh and innovative thinking in order to create jobs in this difficult economic environment.”

He said he is poised to address city government's declining revenues that could threaten the quality of city services. He said he is also prepared to increase job creation and prevent unwise development in Columbia, such as outside developments that diminishes the "character" of a neighborhood.

"Government has to be extremely sensitive to the inhabitants of a neighborhood," he said in an interview.

His other priority is to improve public safety.

“We need to talk openly about crime and how to prevent it,” he said.

McDavid has pledged to endorse the installment of video cameras downtown. The City Council did not approve the measure outright, but instead sent the issue to voters on the April ballot.

“He supports safety in the community,” said Karen Taylor, the creator of the Keep Columbia Safe campaign and a long-time friend.

Pat Brooks, another longtime friend of McDavid’s, also supported his candidacy.

“He is a perfect candidate,” she said. “You can’t beat his experience and his experience with the community.”

McDavid will join Jerry Wade, Sid Sullivan, Sal Nuccio, Paul Love and Sean O’Day in the race.

Mayoral candidates must collect signatures from at least 100 and not more than 150 registered voters who live in Columbia. The municipal election is on April 6.

The Third Ward and Fourth Ward seats on the council are also up for election. Hopefuls 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.

As of now, the Third Ward candidates are incumbent Karl Skala and challenger Gary Kespohl. Fourth Ward candidates are Tracy Greever-Rice, Sarah Read and Rick Buford.

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