District 4 voters in Columbia will have a political newcomer and a council veteran to consider in the special election to fill the remaining one-year term of deceased Councilwoman Leona Plaugh.
Jessica Lathren, a 42-year-old businesswoman and mother, is the only candidate to challenge former two-term councilman Daniel Rickenmann in the Jan. 3 election. Filing for the seat closed at noon Monday with no one else seeking to represent Columbia’s most conservative and arguably most well-off district.
Lathren said she decided to run because her children, now 12 and 9, and her part-time job allow her the time it will take to handle the public service job. “I feel like District 4 has been forgotten the last several years,” Lathren said.
The Thomaston, Ga., native said she moved to Columbia, where her in-laws live, 12 years ago. She has been active at Brockman Elementary School, where she is past-president of its parent-teacher organization.
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Rickenmann, who twice has been elected to a citywide seat before retiring in 2012, announced his candidacy just before filing opened on Oct. 14.
Plaugh died Sept. 28 after a two-year battle with cancer.
Clif LeBlanc: 803-771-8664