Nick Foster, former executive director of the Voluntary Action Center, announced Wednesday that he is entering the race for the Fourth Ward City Council seat.
Foster is no stranger to leadership in community, and he served the VAC for nine years and has lived in Columbia for eleven.
“I now want to offer my energies and my skills to my community in public service,” Foster said in the news release announcing his candidacy.
In addition to his leadership in Columbia, Foster pointed to his twenty years of experience with nonprofits in Alabama and Indiana.
“I want to help make Columbia all we aspire to be: a vibrant, diverse, welcoming city who embraces the future and the promise tomorrow holds,” Foster said.
“I will bring decades of leadership, a passion for helping others, and a strong commitment to serving the residents of the fourth ward and the city as a whole,” he added.
In an interview, Foster said if he is elected, he is especially interested in addressing the issues of homelessness and health concerns in the community.
He pointed to budgetary concerns related to the topic, and hopes to make the best use of the funds from the American Rescue Plan Act. The city has already received $12.5 million from the act to respond to the pandemic and will receive another $12.5 million next year.
“The question I’ll be asking is what impact can this have on those who have struggled the most as a result of the pandemic and how are the funds best used to that end,” Foster said.
Foster also said community violence and public safety are of high concern.
“Everyone in the city deserves to live in an environment where they feel safe and have a sense of wellbeing,” he said.
Foster also shared his views on other ideas that have been prevalent in the community, like the issue of roll carts. He is generally supportive of roll carts and believes they will “make the way for more efficient and cost-effective garbage and recycling collection.” He also said it will make it easier on the people who work in refuse collection.
Foster emphasized the many changes the city will face in the future, with a new mayor, new city manager, and the continuing issue of COVID-19.
“We will be dealing with all the things that normally come before a city council in the upcoming years as well, everything from public safety to garbage collection,” he said. “And I want to be a part of that process to serve not only the fourth ward but all of the citizens of Columbia.”
He is looking forward to reviewing what the council has done in past years and the city’s Strategic Plan to see where things stand and where there is room to catch up.
Foster joins Erica Pefferman in the race for the Fourth Ward City Council seat. Pefferman announced her candidacy Monday.
Longtime council member Ian Thomas announced Oct. 1 that he will not be seeking reelection for another term.
Of Thomas, Foster said he has followed what he has done as a council person and appreciated his efforts.
“One of the words that’s in the vision statement of the city is that we want to live in a place where everyone has the opportunity to thrive,” Foster said. “That word, thrive, is really important to me.”
“Together, we will become a city where every person, every household thrives in a community that is committed to progress,” Foster concluded in his statement.