Chris Kelly announces Columbia mayoral campaign

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COLUMBIA - Tuesday is the first day to file a petition to run in Columbia’s April elections, and there are already two candidates for mayor.

Chris Kelly, a former Missouri State Representative, announced on Monday he will file to run. Current Mayor Brian Treece announced his bid for re-election Tuesday.

The election will take place Apr. 2, 2019 and includes races for City Council Ward 3 and Ward 4 in addition to mayor.

Earlier this week, the Columbia Tribune first reported that Kelly had deleted thousands of tweets from his Twitter page. In an interview with KOMU 8 News, Kelly confirmed he deleted those old tweets at the suggestion of his campaign staff. When asked why he deleted the tweets, Kelly said his remarks would be easy to take out of context and use against him, if someone were "malicious."

Kelly said, if elected, his first priority would be repairing the lack of confidence citizens have in Columbia’s government.

“The erosion of confidence is important to the long-term wellbeing of the city,” Kelly said, “because if the voters are not comfortable with the city, then they’re less inclined to support city activities and city initiatives.”

As an example, Kelly said a lack of credibility could make it difficult for Columbia to maintain its Park Sales Tax. Kelly also said improving relationships between citizens and the police department requires strong credibility between the city and its citizens.

Efforts to restore confidence could include improving infrastructure, Kelly said. They could also include improving the city government’s relationships with Boone County, Columbia Public Schools and the Boone County Fire Protection District.

Kelly said he believes the city government currently does not have a positive relationship with these other government bodies.

“That is hurtful because it’s harder to get things done, and it costs the taxpayers money,” Kelly said.

In addition to being a state representative, Kelly has been Boone County Clerk, Boone County Associate Circuit Judge and Missouri Labor and Industrial Relations Commission chairman.

“Columbia needs steady leadership to continue the progress we’ve made,” said Treece in the release announcing his re-election bid. “In the last three years we’ve added over 1000 new jobs, strengthened our neighborhoods, and restored confidence in a government that is open, honest and transparent.  But there is still more work to do.”

Jan. 8 is the last day to file.