COLUMBIA, S.C. — WLTX invited each of the four candidates to attend the upcoming City of Columbia Mayoral Forum but only three agreed to take part, including: Moe Baddourah, Councilwoman Tameika Isaac-Devine and Sam Johnson.
News19 is partnering with the Columbia Urban League Young Professionals with WLTX's Darci Strickland as moderator for the September 14 event at 7 p.m. in Allen University's Historic Chappelle Auditorium.
Earlier this year, Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin announced he was not running for a fourth term. That news opened the door for candidates looking to replace the city first black mayor, but who are the candidates and what do they stand for?
News19’s Brandon Taylor recently sat down with the candidates participating in the forum and asked them the same 5 questions.
Meet the first African American woman elected to Columbia City Council’s at large seat, Tameika Isaac Devine.
WHO ARE YOU?
"I am a Columbia native, I'm an attorney,” said Devine. “I'm a wife and a mom who's passionate about the City of Columbia. I've been an At-Large council person for the last 19 years. I'm running for Mayor to be an independent voice -- someone who champions all communities and is promoting inclusive growth within our city."
WHY DO YOU WANT THE JOB?
“The Mayor is the person who helps lead the vision of the city and can work to bring people together to come up with real solutions,” said Devine. “The Mayor is somebody who can work hard every single day and will be able to really move the city forward in a more equitable and inclusive manner."
WHAT’S YOUR VISION FOR THE CITY?
“My vision is simple. It is to promote inclusivity and equity within our city,” said Devine. “It is to take advantage of the opportunities that we have such as growing our city, all areas of our city and bringing more people together, so that they understand that everybody is part of not just Columbia's present, but are really part of our future.”
WHAT’S YOUR PLATFORM?
"My platform is to promote a more inclusive and equitable city,” said Devine. “Making sure that we are taking advantage of the opportunities that are here to grow our city and invest in areas of our city that have been traditionally underserved and disinvested in. We need to make sure that we are coming up with real solutions to tackle our biggest challenges."
"No matter where you live in the city, whether it is Shandon or North Columbia, Harbison or Wood Creek Farms,” said Devine. “No matter how much you make or whether you're in the lower wealth community or you're making you millions of dollars a year, you will know that you have a champion in the mayor's office and somebody who's going to fight for you and your issues."
WHY ARE YOU THE BEST CANDIDATE FOR THE JOB?
“I've done the work,” said Devine. “I've served the city humbly for the last 19 years as an At-Large councilwoman coming up with real solutions to solve our issues, like the creation of our homeless court and elevating the issues of affordable housing and equitable communities."
"I don't have a problem with rolling up my sleeves and getting in and working with people to get things done,” said Devine. “The experience that I have on the local, state and national level, coupled with my passion for this city and my leadership experience to get things done makes me the best candidate for this job."
Devine is active in her church, Brookland Baptist, and Delta Sigma Theta sorority.
The 2021 election will be held Tuesday, November 2.
News19 wants to know what questions you have for the candidates.
Text your questions to (803) 776-9508, and don’t forget to include your name. Your questions might be asked during the WLTX Mayoral Forum on September 14.