Councilwoman Chadwick\'s resignation touches on political culture

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COLUMBIA- First Ward Councilwoman Ginny Chadwick's resignation became effective as of Tuesday at noon. 

Chadwick confirmed her resignation at the city council meeting last night. 

First Ward voters filed a petition to recall Chadwick from office after Chadwick voted against marijuana decriminalization law in Columbia after previously campaigning for the decriminalization of marijuana. 

Deputy City Manager Tony St. Romaine said Chadwick hasn't been on the council very long but she's done great things for the city. 

MU Professor of Political Science Peverill Squire said in the world of social media, politics is much more challenging than ever before. 

"Politicians are held accountable for things that they say during the campaign and their performance in the office and it's very easy for constituents to communicate among themselves these days. So it's a more difficult challenge than it was even a decade ago," Squire said. 

Squire said recall efforts are uncommon but they're easier to do today because constituents can communicate and organize in ways that they couldn't before. 

He said having the option to recall means voters can hold elected officials accountable and in turn, elected officials have to be sensitive to the notion that there is a possibility they could be removed from office. 

Squire said both present and future elected officials face certain ramifications when in office. 

"I think most elected officials have to understand that they're going to be under considerable scrutiny more than in the past. So they have to be sensitive, they have to understand the possibility that if they do change their mind, they need to be able to explain why they change their mind and to do so in a convincing way," Squire said. 

The city will hold a special election April 7 to fill Chadwick's seat.