Small business owner, real estate lawyer win seats in Forest Acres City Council election | Columbia News

“We want to make sure that we’re a thriving community in terms of cultural events, or even zoning and where business can go and how we interact with our residents,” Andrews said previously. “Just creating a good groundwork for where people who want to be in business want to be.”

Oliver, who received 32 percent of the vote, said he’ll be a voice for small business, especially as the city works to lure major retailers, by drawing from his own experience operating a small business in the city.


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Part of that could involve offering a grant to help small businesses start out, Oliver said, potentially with funding from the city’s hospitality tax revenues set aside to help boost tourism.

His first order of business will be delving into the city’s finances and getting to work revitalizing the area around Covenant and Bethel Church roads with an idea he was not ready to divulge so soon after being elected, he said.

“I’m excited,” Oliver said. “I worked hard, knocked on close to 1,000 doors, did everything I could to meet all my neighbors as possible, and I’m ready to go to work.”


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Newton, who received 29 percent of the vote, said he helps broker commercial real estate deals for his law firm. That experience gives him an edge when it comes to the city’s ongoing Richland Mall redevelopment moving forward, he said.

Newton also wanted to promote the benefits the police department offers to bolster officer recruitment and arrange some sort of regular forum for leaders from Columbia, Richland County and Fort Jackson to talk about their priorities and initiatives.

“I’ve got a couple months before I take office,” Newton said after the election. “I’ve got to continue talking to residents, figure out my first steps.”

Despite leading on the 87 early ballots cast, Barnes finished with just 24 percent of the vote, 83 votes behind Oliver. Shorter received 13 percent of the votes for council.

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