(Editor’s note: While The State Opinion page will not make endorsements in the Nov. 5 Columbia City Council races, we have asked all of the candidates to provide replies to a candidate questionnaire.)
Name: John Loveday (District 3 candidate)
1. Please provide some brief biographical information — including some detail on why you are running for this office.
* Age: 35.
* Occupation: Principal, SC Whitmore School.
SC Whitmore School is a public online high school designed to support at-risk students statewide as a dropout prevent program. We are in our ninth school year, and we have graduated almost 1,000 students from all 46 counties in South Carolina (many from the Columbia area).
I grew up in rural Aiken County, S.C., where I attended public schools. I attended the University of South Carolina, where I became a first-generation college graduate. I am a three-time alum of USC.
* Bachelor of Arts – History.
* Master of Teaching – Secondary Education.
* Master of Education – Educational Administration.
I am married to Amanda Alpert Loveday. We have two sons, Rutledge (4) and Rowan (2).
I am a first-time candidate. I am running because I lost trust in my current councilman. I decided, versus simply complaining, that I needed to get off the sidelines, roll up my sleeves and get to work. I am running to offer new ideas, energy and leadership to District 3. As a principal, I am responsible for creating and executing a multi-million-dollar budget. I also supervise a staff of over 40 employees. As a former teacher and current public school principal, I know what it means to serve and I would bring that same service mentality to city council.
2. What are the three biggest issues facing the city?
* The main burden facing our city is, and has been for a long time, the fact that 35 percent of taxpayers in Columbia are responsible for supporting the other 65 percent of non-taxed entities. This has been a major topic of conversation for many years.
* We need both a short- and long-term plan as it pertains to economic development and helping to expand our tax base. That plan must include reviewing all non-taxable entities and ensuring everyone pays their fair share.
* We also having major issues in retaining top talent in our city and attracting economic development in order to keep pace with other cities in our region. We need to think creativity and boldly in order to address these issues.
3. What are the three biggest issues facing your district?
* The theme of my campaign since I announced in January 2019 has been about making Columbia a more livable city for everyone. That means investing in our infrastructure, becoming a more pedestrian-friendly city and investing in our public safety.
* Clearly Columbia is currently experiencing a public safety crisis. I believe we have strong leadership at the Columbia Police Department but they simply need more resources. It is unacceptable that the CPD currently has a 20 percent vacancy rate, which equates to approximately 80 positions. It’s all about setting the right priorities as a city. My detailed public safety action plan is on my website at www.votejohnloveday.com.
* I would also like to see Columbia become a more pedestrian-friendly city by investing in permanent bike lanes, less surface parking, Quiet Zones and more traffic-calming measures.
4. At the end of your term, what is one major accomplishment you want to be able to point to as your crowning achievement — a policy change, local project, etc. that you played a major role in bringing about?
I would like to see a zero percent vacancy rate at the Columbia Police Department. We know it can be done — the Richland County Sheriff’s Department currently has a waiting list for employment. This would mean approximately 80 additional officers working across Columbia to help keep us safe. This would not only help to improve our quality of life — it would also help to encourage economic development.
5. What do you want your legacy to be as a public official?
I would like to be known as someone who helped to drastically improve the quality of our customer services in the city of Columbia. I would also like to leave a legacy of holding our elected officials to the highest of standards as it pertains to transparency, trust and public service.