COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
Roy Lovelady, the 38-year-old co-founder of a non-profit and small business owner, has won the Third Ward seat for Columbia's city council over incumbent Karl Skala in a historic special election.
During the municipal election in April, Lovelady and Skala tied with 1,102 votes each.
Skala served in the Third Ward seat for four terms. But Lovelady took the seat from Skala by a mere 150 votes. The final result was Lovelady with 1,419 votes, while Skala received 1,269 votes.
He says that he has not talked to Skala since Boone County released the final results last night, but he hopes to work with Skala through his transition into council.
"He has 13 years of experience," Lovelady says, "If we could partner and work together, that would be great."
Lovelady says one of his main campaign messages was equal opportunity for all, and he will continue to fight for that as a city council member.
"It's time for change. Change is now," Lovelady said.
Lovelady says his first priority is to listen to the people and learn before addressing issues like homelessness, equitable zoning, and crime.
He says that he will prioritize being a city council member while continuing to run his businesses.
"I work three days a week inside my salon, I teach dance in the beginning portion of my week, but my schedule is flexible because I am a business owner."
When asked about reimplementing a program to bring back community policing, Lovelady says he is willing to look at revisiting that, but he wants to hear from the community first.
Lovelady says he is excited to serve all of the Third Ward, even those who didn't vote for him. He also says it is important that people in the community to come to council meetings.
"I am going to ask of them to come to council, to start putting the pressure on me, to make sure that I am accountable for the things that they are asking me to do," he said.
Lovelady says he will be publicly sworn in at the next council meeting on August 15.