Four candidates submitted petitions to run for Columbia City Council positions Tuesday.
On April 4, Columbia voters in First Ward and Fifth Ward will vote for City Council representatives.
First Ward incumbent Pat Fowler has filed for reelection against challenger Nick Knoth. Candidates Don Waterman and Gregg Bush filed to run for the Fifth Ward seat. Fifth Ward incumbent Matt Pitzer announced in October he will not seek reelection.
In an email, City Clerk Sheela Amin said the petitions submitted by the Tuesday deadline will not be verified as sufficient until Wednesday at the earliest. All candidates needed between 50 and 75 signatures from registered voters in their wards.
Pat Fowler is set to run for a second term representing the First Ward. She was first elected in June 2020.
On her campaign website from her first run, Fowler wrote that neighborhood protections do not go far enough to protect Columbia’s housing market from “out-of-scale redevelopment.”
On the council, Fowler has also been an advocate for resources for people experiencing homelessness.
Her website states that the First Ward is the most diverse section of town and has been neglected from infrastructure and services in favor of newer areas of town.
Her opponent, Nick Knoth, shared a similar sentiment about the issues the First Ward faces, noting that the ward is very diverse but faces structural problems.
“I believe that the First Ward has a tremendous need that other wards don’t when it comes to infrastructure and affordable housing,” Knoth said. “The First Ward experienced a large portion of the homeless population.”
Knoth ran for Boone County Recorder of Deeds in 2022 but lost the Democratic primary.
Knoth attended the University of Missouri and received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science & History in 2018.
Knoth currently serves on the board of directors for the Boys and Girls Club of Columbia and MU Extension Council for Boone County. Knoth had previously ran for Boone County Recorder of Deeds after he dropped out of the race for Boone County Presiding Commissioner due to insufficient funds. Bob Nolte won the primary for Recorder of Deeds with 6,578 votes.
Knoth is currently the Columbia Regional Director at the Better Business Bureau.
Don Waterman, who claimed to be the first to file at 8 a.m. Tuesday, serves as the Defender Planning Lead at American Outdoor Brands. Waterman previously ran for the Missouri House of Representatives in the 46th District, losing to Martha Stevens in 2016.
Waterman spent 24 years in the U.S. Navy. He describes himself as a quick learner and curious-minded with a lot of quality experience with other communities in his military career.
Waterman said that he chose to run due to a shortage of police officers, to ensure tax dollars are spent to benefit the entire community and to find a solution for Columbia’s continual trash issues. He said the city’s logo trash bag system was a “misstep in which he commends the City Council for stepping back from.”
One way Waterman looks to get closer to his constituents of the Fifth Ward is an idea he calls “five for the Fifth.”
“Every other Saturday or two Saturdays a month someone can sit down with me at a coffee shop or restaurant in the Fifth Ward and give me five minutes of your time to talk about the Fifth Ward.”
In a news release, Gregg Bush stated that his platform is centered on the preservation and maintenance of the City of Columbia and “our shared values.”
Bush believes in effective and accountable public safety, planned development that “works for everybody” and dedication to preserving public education. He writes that we must consider our local businesses and local experts when engaging in any public-private partnerships to ensure tax dollars stay local.
Bush moved to Columbia in 2006 and earned a nursing degree in 2012. He has three children with his wife Iyesatu who is a respiratory therapist. All of his children are part of the Columbia Public School system.