*This story previously referred to Ginny Chadwick by her full first name, Virginia. "Ginny" is what will appear on the ballot.
COLUMBIA — After a last-day filing, the race for the First Ward's City Council seat is now between three candidates. The county clerk’s office certified petitions for Ginny* Chadwick, William “Bill” Easley and Tyree Byndom on Wednesday morning.
William “Bill” Easley, 73, has lived in Columbia since 1994. Born in Hannibal, Easley served in the U.S. Army from 1961 to 1964 and was stationed in Kansas, Missouri and Germany. After returning to civilian life, he worked in food service and factories until he retired in 2000.
Crime in the First Ward, like he sees in Worley Street Park near his home, is Easley's primary campaign issue. He is proud of his neighborhood, but sees room for improvement, he said. The police department's presence and attitude in the First Ward should also be changed, Easley said.
Easley wants to improve the school system, create more jobs and keep more businesses in Columbia. He has not yet developed specific plans for addressing these matters.
He chose to run because he cares about the community and believes that citizens should take interest in what happens in their neighborhoods and who represents their voice to the government, he said.
Tyree Byndom, 42, is CEO of Byndom, Stanton and Associates, a consulting firm that specializes in business development, and hosts a weekly radio show on KOPN/89.5 FM. He is involved in the Mayor's Task Force on Community Violence, Minority Men’s Network and Citizens Involved and Invested in Columbia. He also served as president of the Douglass Park Neighborhood Association for a year after reviving the association from inactivity.
Byndom’s motivation for seeking the First Ward seat is rooted in a natural progression of his passion for changing and bettering the community, he said. His activism over many years has prepared him to take the next step into government. His devotion to service is grounded in his Baha’i faith, he said.
“I never want to say that I need to give back, because I was always a part of it,” Byndom said.
If elected, Byndom wants to address poverty in the First Ward through a variety of methods, including encouraging education about finances and creating jobs by eliminating a “skill shortage.” Economic development and the lack of an entrepreneurial spirit are areas that need attention, he said.
Byndom says he will set priorities based on the ward's reality, history and resources. His willingness to make a difference in Columbia is what distinguishes him from other candidates, he said. He will be launching a website and a blog about community issues and speaking to the public during the next eight weeks.
Ginny Chadwick, 36, is a current graduate student at MU, single mother and businesswoman. She helped create Columbia Locally Owned Retail and Services, a local nonprofit that promotes the importance of local businesses. She is also active in the West Ash Neighborhood Association and has worked with two former First Ward council members.
Chadwick’s main priority if elected is to be the advocate and representative voice of the people in the First Ward. She wants to continue facilitating communication and collecting feedback from members of the ward, where residents are often hard to engage, she said.
She is passionate about public health and aims to use her position to create safe neighborhoods, continue promotion of healthy lifestyles, encourage growth in the economic sector and promote home ownership.
The way to alleviate crime “is to make people feel that they have a voice and are engaged in what goes on in their town,” she said. Through her experience working with former council members, she had an opportunity to study and understand the variety of factors that affect life in the First Ward and the increased need for economic development, she said.
Supervising editor is Elise Schmelzer.