Peter Brown won the Columbia City Council District 4 Special Election Tuesday, March 28.
“I think it was a mandate on what we ran on,” Brown said. “The line the whole time was ‘Columbia is a great place to live, a great place to raise a family, and a great place to run a business, but we can do better.’ That’s what Columbia is ready for.”
Brown defeated former Richland One board member Beatrice King for the opportunity to replace Joe Taylor, who passed away in December. Brown earned 1,967 votes (57 percent). King collected 1,464 votes (43 percent).
“I think what resonated with voters is the message about running Columbia like a business,” Brown said. “I want to build on what the mayor (Daniel Rickenmann) is doing. I want to build on progressing Columbia. I don’t want to lose kids to Greenville and Charleston. In order to build we have to change some of the structure and culture. The culture in Columbia has been a culture of ‘no’, ‘not in my backyard,’ and ‘yeah,but.’ That’s the culture we are going to change.”
Tuesday’s vote ended a shortened election season.
“The last few weeks have been a whirlwind,” Brown said. “We talked to a lot of people. We met a lot of people and have gotten to know a lot of people. I think we are in a good awareness phase of what can we do better? What we are finding is people are ready for change. I think change is always a little scary for everybody. I think what we are really looking forward to is working together—the county, the city, and the universities. I want to work together for the good of everybody in the city.”
During his term Brown would like to tackle the tax structure and developing the city’s assets.
The first meeting Brown can attend is Tuesday, April 4. However, he needs to be sworn in before he can actively participate. He’s not sure that will happen before Tuesday’s meeting. However, he does plan to get to know his new colleagues and listen and soak it all in.
“What is exciting is changing the culture in Columbia,” Brown said. “Me being elected is just part of the process. What is exciting is the prospects and what we can do. I can’t do it by myself. I’m just the messenger. The message is bigger than me. The message is we want to change Columbia.”
His term will end December 31, 2025.
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