A platform promoting balanced growth for Columbia and $21,000 in campaign financing proved to be a winning combination for Laura Nauser.
Nauser won the Fifth Ward seat on the Columbia City Council that will soon be vacated by John John. Nauser, opposed by Gayle Troutwine and Joseph Vradenburg, garnered 959 votes, or 56.4 percent.
Nauser celebrated with supporters at D Rowe’s on Tuesday night. Family, friends and colleagues laughed as they sipped beer at the bar and snacked on fruit salad and shrimp cocktail. Behind a table full of food stood a big, orange campaign sign bearing Nauser’s name. Nauser said getting her name out through campaigning helped her win the race.
“In running for any type of elected office, getting your name out there is important,” Nauser said.
Some voters agreed. Carol Trendle said none of the candidates stood out, but she was most familiar with Nauser from campaign ads and the support Nauser received from developers.
First Ward Councilwoman Almeta Crayton also celebrated her re-election with friends at Lou’s Palace downtown. Crayton, 45, has represented the central city ward for two terms and said she is ready for a third. Both she and Nauser will serve three-year terms.
Nauser said she was excited and happy. She said she planned to go home after the party to relax before starting her work on the council.
“It’s been a long couple of months with all the candidate forums, going door to door and going to functions,” Nauser said. “And there’s a work session Monday, so I’ll be going right to work.”
As the newest City Council member, Nauser said her priority will be to focus on the city’s growth.
“My biggest issue is the continued growth of Columbia,” Nauser said. “I’d like to see the path the city is on continue.”
Terry Dally, who has worked with Nauser in real estate, was enthusiastic about Nauser’s election.
“She’s kind, very bright and understands what’s important in the growth of Columbia,” Dally said. “She will really be an asset to this town.”
Miles Lemmon also praised Nauser.
“She’s honest, hard-working and had a good position on growth for the city,” he said.
Nauser said during the campaign that she ran for the council to take on more responsibility in a city that has been her home for the past 10 years. A 41-year-old mother of two, she works part-time as a real estate closing officer for Boone Title Co. She has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Columbia College and an associate’s degree in art from Cosumnes River College in Sacramento, Calif.
Nauser campaigned with the slogan “Balanced Growth for Columbia.” She said it is important to balance the needs of a growing city with the desires of those who want to live in the country.
Growth is inevitable, Nauser said, and she believes growth on the periphery is better handled by the city than the county, which is not set up to accommodate major road improvements or new fire and police departments. She also said that everyone has the right to develop his or her land but that the concerns of all interested parties should be given a voice.
She thinks a community needs good infrastructure to survive and be vibrant. Because everybody benefits from good roads, she said, the council should find a multi-tiered approach to funding road improvements.
While Nauser has been criticized by some for having a pro-business stance, Cynthia Arendt views this as a positive quality.
“I was looking for someone that’s pro-business because my husband and I have a business,” Arendt said.
Crayton said she wants to improve housing during the next three years by using YouthBuild, a federal program for at-risk young adults who build and repair homes while going to school. Increasing home ownership and entrepreneurship in the First Ward has been one of Crayton’s long-term goals. She would also like to direct the council’s attention to schools’ drop-out rates, funding for poor areas and unemployment.