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Activist John Tyler set to run for Columbia City Council

·2 min read

Another candidate has entered the crowded field for an at-large seat on Columbia City Council.

Activist John Tyler, of the One Common Cause Community Control Initiative, said he intends to seek the citywide seat. Columbia’s city elections are Nov. 2, with runoffs on Nov. 16, if necessary. Filing opens in August.

Tyler, who is seeking elected office for the first time, has been an active member of the One Common Cause Community Control Initiative, the organization that has pushed for racial and social justice in Columbia. He also works as a front desk coordinator at a cosmetology school and works part-time at a local Lizard’s Thicket restaurant. He officially announced his intention to run for Council during a Juneteenth festival last weekend.

Tyler, 36, said after a heightened level of activism during the last year, running for a seat on council seems like a natural extension of community service.

“This past year of activism has kind of prepared me to take that next step and be able to be in a position where I can get more resources and more help for my people than in any capacity,” Tyler told The State.

With Tyler’s entry into the race, five candidates have formally announced at-large campaigns. The others are attorney Tyler Bailey, businesswoman Heather Bauer, public health researcher Dr. Aditi Bussells and lobbyist Deitra Stover Matthews.

Tyler, who lives in the Cottontown-Bellevue neighborhood in Columbia, said he would work to bolster employment in the city and help improve infrastructure. He also said he wants a more equitable distribution of resources for kids.

“In certain areas there are more resources for children to do after school (activities) than in other areas,” Tyler said. “I want to kind of even that divide. Build some more parks in certain areas for kids, and maybe we can cut down on the crime if we give these children something to do in the afternoon.”

Unlike district seats, at-large seats on the council are elected across the city. Tyler said he feels confident he can earn votes in all areas of Columbia.

“Bridging gaps with many different types of people every day is my business,” the activist said. “I feel like the boundary doesn’t matter. Anybody can come to terms and agreements as long as you have that open table of conversation.”

Aside from the at-large race, other city races in Columbia this year include mayor, District 1 and District 4.

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