Candidates for the Columbia City Council and School Board met today to discuss disability issues at a Forum at city hall.
Multiple Mid-Missouri disability services agencies hosted the forum to get the candidates talking about accessibility in the city. Community members submitted questions online, and the candidates discussed a range of issues, from playground accessibility, to inclusive hiring processes and expansion of the para transit system.
Ginny Chadwick is running for the First Ward city council seat, and lives in a low-income area of the First Ward. She said there is a lack of affordable and accessible housing in the community. She said people with disabilities might not want to live in the housing that is available because they are worried about the area's safety.
"Maybe there is affordable housing in our community but the people with special needs, with disabilities, don't feel that it's a safe neighborhood for them and so we have to look at, as a city, how can we create a safe environment for people in affordable housing neighborhoods," Chadwick said.
Bill Easley is also running to represent the First Ward on the council. He said he has some disabilities himself, and thinks the bus system should be expanded to be more accessible. He said for people like him, getting to things like city council meetings can be a huge time commitment.
"I have to come downtown early," Easley said.
"Because you're walking?" KBIA asked.
"Well or catch a bus, I have to catch the 5:05 or 4:25 and come down, maybe get a sandwich or come down to Hardees, or kill time," Easley said.
A third candidate, Tyree Byndom, was not at the forum. Byndom is not campaigning for the seat because of his religion. He is a member of the Baha'i faith and does not believe in electioneering. You can read more about this at KBIA.org.
The election will be held April 8.