COLUMBIA — Former Fifth Ward Councilwoman Laura Nauser filed a petition Thursday to enter the February special election for her old City Council seat.
"I like working for the people and working for the community," Nauser said. "The opportunity came up, and I thought I'd run again to work for the people of Columbia."
Nauser served two consecutive terms as the Columbia City Council's Fifth Ward representative and was mayor pro tem for two years. In 2005, she cruised to victory over opponents Gayle Troutwine and Joseph Vradenburg, winning 56 percent of the votes. She ran unopposed in 2008.
In 2010, Nauser was the Republican candidate for the 24th District seat in the Missouri House of Representatives, a race she lost to Democratic incumbent Chris Kelly by an 8 percent margin.
Nauser, a program assistant at the Robert L. Perry Juvenile Justice Center, describes herself as an active member of the community. She works with foster children as a court-appointed special advocate, serves on the board for the Boys and Girls Club of Columbia and has been the president of the Boone County Federated Republican Women for the past two years.
Nauser said one of her priorities is bringing jobs to the city. She is particularly proud of the council's role in encouraging IBM to move to Columbia, a move she described as a "big boost" to the local economy.
"I want to increase the ability of our community to track good-paying jobs, especially in light of the economy," she said. "Personal responsibility and property rights are something I'm advocating for."
Nauser said she is particularly pleased that Columbia made the America's Promise Alliance list of "100 Best Communities for Young People" in 2010, a title it has held ever since – and a title she hopes to maintain.
"It's nice to be a part of the growth in the community," she said.
In February, Nauser will compete against candidates Susan "Tootie" Burns, treasurer for the Grasslands Neighborhood Association, and Mark Jones, political director for the Missouri National Education Association, for the Fifth Ward seat vacated by Helen Anthony on Nov. 30.
Anthony resigned from the council because of the stress of traveling between Columbia and Providence, R.I., where her husband had accepted a job.
To appear on the ballot, candidates must submit a nominating petition with at least 50 and no more than 75 signatures from Fifth Ward residents. The deadline to file a petition is Dec. 12.
Supervising editor is Scott Swafford.