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.
The fourth candidate, Daniel Rickenmann, declined the invite to participate in the forum due to a previously scheduled trip, but we still afforded him the opportunity to respond to our questions in writing.
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?
Meet Daniel Rickenmann.
WHO ARE YOU?
“I think first and foremost, I’m a dad who wants the best for his children,” said Rickenmann.
“Second, I’m a pretty simple guy who has tried to build successful businesses and relationships in Columbia his whole life because I love it here. I’m proud of it. My time serving on City Council over the years has helped me shape a clear vision of how we can make Columbia the best it possibly can be.”
WHY DO YOU WANT THE JOB?
“I’m not someone who wants to be mayor so I can say “I’m the mayor” or use it to run for a higher office,” said Rickenmman. “I’m not a flashy guy, as I’m sure you can tell. But what I do see, is at this moment, what Columbia needs most is a pro-business leader who can build consensus across different viewpoints and drive the change we all know Columbia needs to thrive. Those are my skills and my vision, and I’m running because they are what Columbia needs most right now.”
WHAT YOUR VISION FOR THE CITY?
“My vision for Columbia is clear. I’ve put forward a very specific and detailed roadmap to success on my website that I haven’t wavered from and will put into action immediately,” said Rickenmann. “I don’t think you start a trip without a map, and I don’t think you start building anything without a plan. What’s important to know about this roadmap is that it’s not just my ideas. It’s a compilation of the best recommendations available from a variety of stakeholders across the city on the most-important issues we face. It’s a plan built on real consensus and the best ideas and practices available, and I am confident, it will get us to where we need to go.”
WHAT’S YOUR PLATFORM?
“My plan has seven main areas of focus -- public safety, infrastructure, small business growth, affordable housing, to create long-term job opportunities for our citizens, to complete long unfinished public projects that impact us all, to bring innovation and to streamline operations of city government,” said Rickenmman. “Each one of those areas has specific, realistic, and achievable goals. It’s a priority list without politics; just the promise of real economic success for our Columbia family.”
WHY ARE YOU THE BEST CANDIDATE FOR THE JOB?
“You can talk about years of service on City Council and an understanding of how our City works, but I’m not the only candidate with that,” said Rickenmann. “You can talk about experience being an entrepreneur and building businesses that employ Columbians, but again, I’m not unique as a candidate in that either. I don’t have the blessing of the previous mayor -- that’s for another candidate to claim -- and I’m not a politically connected attorney with family members in powerful positions on the school board. Those are for other people to claim.”
“I’m the best candidate because I’m not those things,” said Rickenmann. “I’m the best candidate because I care most about making Columbia the best city in the state and I’m the only candidate with a concrete, vetted plan with the ability to build the consensus it will take from people of all walks of life. I’m not a flashy suit guy, and you won’t see me trying to get face time on national cable networks to score political points. I’m just a Columbian ready to do the hard, unglamorous work it will take to make Columbia the home we all can take pride in.”
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.