Ginny Chadwick's First Ward campaign draws on experience, community

Wednesday, April 2, 2014 | 6:00 a.m. CDT; updated 8:53 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, April 8, 2014
First Ward City Council candidate Ginny Chadwick works to balance different aspects of her life while campaigning.

*CORRECTION: Ginny Chadwick worked as campaign treasurer for Fred Schmidt in 2011, an earlier article misstated the year.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the first of a series of profiles on the candidates for First Ward City Council representative. Ginny Chadwick is featured Wednesday, Tyree Byndom will be featured Thursday, and Bill Easley will be featured Friday. The profiles are being published in the order their names appear on the ballot.

About Ginny Chadwick

Age: 36

Years in the First Ward: Chadwick moved to Columbia in 1995 to earn her undergraduate degree at MU and stayed until 2001. She left Columbia until 2004, when she moved into a house in the First Ward.

Family: Chadwick is not married and has two children, who are 11 and 14.

Education: Undergraduate degree from MU in consumer and family economics; graduate student in journalism and public health

Employment: Graduate research assistant for MU’s Psychological Research on Information and Media Effects Lab

Campaign website


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COLUMBIA — Ginny Chadwick has some experience with the workings of a City Council race: She served as the campaign treasurer in *2011 for Fred Schmidt, the outgoing First Ward councilman.

Because Schmidt is leaving office after one term, Chadwick is putting up yard signs, mailing fliers and raising money — about $5,500, she said. She is the only candidate, thus far, who has raised money to campaign, though John Clark, the recent write-in, has expressed a desire to fundraise and is recycling signs from his last race for the First Ward position in 2008.

Chadwick, an MU graduate student, is up against Tyree Byndom, who has decided not to campaign because of his Baha'i faith; Bill Easley, a former member of the inactive Smithton Valley Neighborhood Association; and John Clark, a ward activist who filed as a write-in March 17.

Chadwick has been tapping into Schmidt's knowledge and experience during her campaign to learn about her possible future as a councilwoman. She said she differs from the incumbent because she is more progressive. Schmidt is a "numbers and details" person, and Chadwick is more concerned with community and the environment.

"Fred is more conservative. He’s fiscally minded," Chadwick said. "I realize that development is a positive thing for the city, but we also have to take into account the environmental impact of the development and the infrastructure costs and make sure that we are planning better for that impact."

Although she supports downtown development, she said she would be cautious about future plans. The city planning document, Columbia Imagined, outlines mixed-use developments, but many developments have only been single-use. She would be more supportive of future development if it followed the city plan.

The biggest difference Chadwick sees between Schmidt and herself is communication with constituents. She said many residents said Schmidt was difficult to contact because he would not return calls. She is trying to be more available and often gives out her phone number.

"I’m going in not to make big changes, but truly being a voice of the First Ward," she said.

For three years, Chadwick worked part time for County Auditor June Pitchford. She helped assemble the county budget book and said she got a good grasp of how that budget, which is similar to the city budget, is organized. She still has some questions and is working to understand the nuances of city budget.

Chadwick also worked with her neighbors and council members to better the street she lives on, Alexander Street, which was often used as a cut-through between Worley and Ash streets and Broadway. Speeding on the street was an issue, and at the time, there were numerous families with young children, said Ivy Boley, vice president of the West Ash Neighborhood Association and Chadwick’s next-door neighbor.

The residents of the street tried their own traffic-calming measures, such as signs and street beautification, and one neighbor started a petition for installing speed humps. Chadwick helped collect signatures.

Before the humps were installed, Boley said, there was already a sense of community, but the issue of speeding provided even more unity.

To even get the city traffic manager to consider the request, 100 percent of the street had to agree to install the speed humps, Chadwick said.

Although most people were supportive, some residents were concerned the speed humps would impede emergency vehicles, Boley said. 

A traffic study had to show the speed humps were necessary, and the results had to be presented to council for approval. The four-year process helped her understand city government functions, Chadwick said.

Mary Thompson, a retired nurse assistant, has lived in the ward since she moved from Mexico, Mo., to Columbia 30 years ago. She said she doesn’t want to leave the First Ward, but she is concerned with the safety of Ash Street, the street she lives on. She told Chadwick to put up a yard sign in front of her house after talking with the candidate.

Thompson said that she doesn't think Chadwick is drawn to the "money and power" of the position but that she wants to help.

"I have a feeling she would work for us," Thompson said. "I think she is one of us and will look at all of us."

Supervising editor is John Schneller.

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Jack Hamm April 2, 2014 | 10:14 a.m.

"Chadwick said it has been a struggle keeping on top of the two master's degree programs she is enrolled in while campaigning."

What is she going to do if she is actually elected!?!? I hope she understands that being on City Council is more than a part time job.

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