COLUMBIA — Mark Jones, political director for the Missouri National Education Association and a member of the Boone County Community Services Advisory Commission, said Tuesday he would file his candidacy for the vacant Fifth Ward seat on the Columbia City Council.
Jones, who moved to Columbia in 2001, grew up in St. Louis and graduated from Central Methodist University in Fayette with a liberal arts degree.
Jones said he joined the Boone County Community Services Advisory Commission because he was intrigued by the issues it handles. The group advises the City Council and the Boone County Commission on how to distribute money for social services programs.
“I wanted to find a way to give back to community, and there was an open position with that,” Jones said. “They have such a wide range of issues they dealt with. I found them all very interesting and wanted to dive right in.”
Given his role with the Missouri National Education Association, Jones said he would like to combine education and social services as his priorities on the council. His goal would be "ensuring that our public schools and city are working together as best they can and providing social services to students and families.”
Even when he isn’t on the job, Jones said he enjoys spending his spare time learning about other cities’ public policies.
“I enjoy reading about what other communities are doing to improve,” Jones said. “I know it sounds like a line, but it's true. I’m an avid reader and studier of history. From a human interest angle, I’m an avid movie buff.”
Jones who lives on Azoros Drive in south Columbia, is the second candidate to enter the race for the council seat, which was left vacant by the resignation of Helen Anthony. Anthony's resignation became effective Nov. 30. The special election is Feb. 5.
Susan “Tootie” Burns announced in October that she would seek the seat. Anthony has endorsed Burns, whom she met through the Grasslands Neighborhood Association, according to previous reporting from the Missourian.
Those who want to run for council must submit to the city clerk a petition with at least 50 and no more than 75 signatures from registered voters in their wards. The deadline is Dec. 12.
Supervising editor is Scott Swafford.