Ginny Chadwick declares candidacy for First Ward Council seat

Monday, November 25, 2013 | 4:01 p.m. CST; updated 6:13 p.m. CST, Monday, November 25, 2013

COLUMBIA — First Ward resident Ginny Chadwick, who worked as campaign treasurer for Fred Schmidt when he was running for the seat in 2011, made her candidacy for City Council official Monday. 

Chadwick filed the petition Monday morning and was informed later in the day by the City Clerk's office that it had been validated.

Chadwick, 36, began asking for feedback about a possible run on social media last week after Schmidt declared he would not seek re-election. Chadwick said Schmidt's decision helped push her toward the campaign trail.

"Fred's known about (my intentions to run) for months now," Chadwick said in her home on Alexander Avenue, where she lives with her two daughters, a dog and two cats. "He needed to decide whether he was going to run again or not before I made that decision public." 

Via Facebook, Chadwick asked her contacts what they thought about her running for the soon-to-be vacant First Ward seat. She had been talking it over with friends a few days earlier but worried that the story would get out before she could announce it.

An MU alumna, Chadwick grew up in Harrisonville, just south of Kansas City, and is a graduate student at MU, seeking a dual degree in strategic communications and public health. She declined to talk about a possible campaign platform but said sustainable living and healthy foods are important to her. She was the executive director of Columbia Locally Owned Retail and Services, and has worked with the Columbia's Farmers' Market and both the True/False Film Fest and the Citizen Jane film festival. 

As it stands, Chadwick does not have an opponent in the race. Contacted Monday morning, Tyree Byndom said he'd received calls and heard rumors about his own potential candidacy but said he wasn't ready to talk about his plans until later in the week.

Schmidt said he'd talked to Chadwick about how difficult the job can be — especially as a volunteer — and, particularly, how challenging it is to represent the First Ward. But he said he thought she was up to the task. "She will rise to the occasion," he said. 

In addition to a possible opponent, Chadwick said her main concern about the election was voter turnout. The First Ward has the lowest turnout of any ward in Columbia, and she said she plans to work toward improving that. 

"Lots of knocking on doors!" she said, laughing. 

The election is set for April 8. The Fifth Ward seat is also open. Fifth Ward Councilwoman Laura Nauser said she will run for re-election.

Chadwick has lived in Columbia for most of the last 17 years. She spent two years in Maryville, Mo., and less than a year in Dallas before returning to Columbia in 2003.

Supervising editor is Katherine Reed.

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