COLUMBIA, S.C. — A decision on who will shape the City of Columbia's future is just days away as the runoff election for mayor and at-large councilperson nears.
Aditi Bussells and Tyler Bailey were the top two vote-getters in the Nov. 2 municipal election out of a field of seven council hopefuls. Bussells got 31 percent of the vote while Bailey had 26 percent.
News19 caught up with the candidates to learn more about their vision for the city. Each were asked the same questions:
Who are you?
"I'm a lawyer, I’m a husband, I’m a father, business owner," Bailey said.
"I'm an epidemiologist, I'm a public health researcher," Bussells said.
What made you want to run for at-large city council?
"I thought I would be a good person to help lead the city to the next chapter while considering the needs of everybody whether you live in North Columbia in Greenview or you live in Kilbourne, I understand your experience. I understand your needs," Bailey said.
"As an epidemiologist, I’ve worked exclusively on helping children and families by alleviating disparities and removing so many of the barriers that our communities face. And, so I’m excited to bring that same skill set to the table in a time when we really need it," Bussells said.
What will you do to improve the city if elected?
" Violent crime is up, and we need to make sure we’re filling our vacancies in our police department. Also, bringing good jobs here where people can make a good living, work one job and take care of their families, and also we can retain our best and brightest students," Bailey said.
"We have to hire more police officers. We have to get to the root cause of crime and violence in our city. People also want to see a more competitive city that has high quality, family supporting jobs that keeps our talent here," Bussells said.
Why do you feel you're the best candidate for the job?
"Growing up here, I've seen the city change, and there's been some good change, but there are a lot of areas that have been left behind, and I think I'm the best person to move the city forward," Bailey said.
"People resonate with our message. They're ready to have somebody that's going to change the status quo and bring in a new bold vision that helps set up our new generation for success," Bussells said.
The runoff election will take place November 16th.