Columbia Council and Village Board elections draw few candidates: A rundown of the races

Spring time in Columbia brings flowers, showers, and the annual Columbia Council / Village Board elections.


Last year, The Rouse Project emerged with a goal to inspire candidates to run, turn out the vote, and ensure the CA Board was more reflective of the diversity of Columbia. These efforts were met with skepticism and unanswered questions about funding and motives. This year, it appears that we are back to same-old same-old. There are very few candidates who have put themselves forward, and as a result, there are very few contested races. Based on my review, there are only three villages who will need to hold an election at all. Fortunately, the three Columbia Council elections that will occur (in Harper's Choice, Hickory Ridge, and Wilde Lake) provide residents a choice between two qualified and experienced community leaders who no doubt care very much about Columbia, but who I suspect will offer very different views on the role and vision of the Columbia Association (more on these races in a bit).


Six of the ten Columbia Village's Columbia Council representative (who become a member of the CA Board of Directors) are up for election this year, but three villages races are uncontested. Incumbent candidates Ginny Thomas (Oakland Mills) and Andy Stack (Owen Brown) as well as new candidate Kevin Fitzgerald (Town Center) do not have a challenger - and are thus deemed elected and will serve on the CA Board of Directors.


The Villages of Hickory Ridge, Harper's Choice, and Wilde Lake will each have a contested election (links go to candidates statements) for their CA representative. Jessamine Duvall and Brian England are up for the Hickory Ridge Columbia Council representation, Tina Horn and Bill Santos are contesting the Wilde Lake seat, and Ashley Vaughan and Alan Klein are competing in Harper's Choice. Like last year, I'll be conducting a Q&A series with CA candidates in contested elections, so residents of these villages please look-out for an article with candidate answers to resident questions in early April to help inform your vote! I've brainstormed a few good questions myself, but if you have any suggested questions, please email me your question to themerriweatherpost@gmail.com today or tomorrow.


As of today, the only village with a known contested Village Board election is Hickory Ridge. I'll officially take this opportunity to announce that I - Jeremy Dommu - am one of the six candidates vying for one of the 5 open spots on the Hickory Ridge Village Board. You can read my candidate statement and the statements from the other five candidates here (there is quite the contrast!). I kindly ask Hickory Ridge residents for your vote! 7 other villages have equal or less candidates as open positions on their village board, so they will not have an election, and the submitted candidates are deemed elected. It's unknown at this time whether King's Contrivance or River Hill will have a contested village board election.


Here is a village-by-village breakdown of this year's CA and Village Elections.

Village

Columbia Council Rep up for Election?

Contested?

Candidate(s) for Columbia Council

# of Village Board Seats up for Election

# of Village Board Candidates

Yes

Yes

- Ashley Vaughan *

- Alan Klein

2

2

Yes

Yes

- Jessamine Duvall *

- Brian England

5

6

Yes

Yes

- Tina Horn *

- Bill Santos

5

2

Yes

No

Ginny Thomas *

7

5

Yes

No

Andy Stack *

2

1

Yes

No

Kevin Fitzgerald

3

3

No **

N/A

N/A

(Current Rep is Dick Boulton)

2

2

No **

N/A

N/A

(Current Rep is Shari Zaret)

2

?

No **

N/A

N/A

(Current Rep is Janet Evans)

3

2

No **

N/A

N/A

(Current Rep is Eric Greenberg)

?

?

Note: The Village link in the table directs to the list of candidates and their candidate statement.

* Incumbent

** Current CA Representation is half way through a 2-year term.


Elections are Saturday, April 23, 2022, though most villages have an option for early voting either by mail, online, or in-person. If you live in a village with a contested election, please vote! And if you are one of the candidates and/or a current village board or CA representative, THANK YOU for volunteering to serve our community in these important roles!


For a primer on the Columbia Council, Village Boards, and these elections, please see my article Village Boards and Columbia Council, explained.

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