Terry Boyd Announced as GOP Candidate for Mayor
On Thursday, the Franklin County Republican Party announced Terry Boyd, former president of the Columbus Board of Education, as their candidate for Columbus mayor. Boyd will face two Democrats, Franklin County Sheriff Zach Scott and Columbus City Council President Andrew Ginther, in a May primary battle. The two candidates with the most votes in that primary will run against each other in the general election.
Columbus Underground was able to speak with Boyd on Friday afternoon about what he expects from the campaign and what separates his vision for Columbus from those of his opponents.
Jesse Bethea: To start off with, just generally, why do you want to be mayor of Columbus?
Terry Boyd: Well, you know, it’s a calling. For far too long, as a citizen, I’ve complained about some of the decisions being made by the city leadership. I’ve watched, just shaking my head about some of its policies… and I’ve always been one that, you know, if you’re going to complain about something, you ought to be willing to do something about it. So after a lot of soul searching, I decided it was a calling and I was willing to accept that call and do what I can to help all citizens of Columbus, not the privileged few.
JB: How strenuous do you anticipate this campaign being, in your own life, in your profession, how much of an effort do you think it’s going to be?
TB: I think it’s going to take a tremendous effort, because let’s face it, the Partnership, the Columbus Partnership has pledged over $2 million for my opponent’s campaign and so consequently, he will be able to get much of his message out through television, the radio, etc., while I’m going to be implementing a grassroots campaign which will entail a lot of door-to-door, a lot of speaking at groups and organized events. That’s how I’m going to get my message out. I won’t be able to come close to spending what they have, but God willing we’ll be able to get our message out regardless of a lack of financial resources.
JB: When you say your “opponent” are you referring to Council President Ginther or Sheriff Scott?
TB: Well, they didn’t pledge that kind of money to Zach Scott, they pledged it to Andrew Ginther, because he is already a part of the system. He’s already part of the system which the Partnership controls. I don’t want to mislead anyone in thinking that the Partnership is this diabolical organization that controls every aspect of Columbus, I don’t mean that at all. But what I do mean is that there has been a concerted effort to develop Downtown, to help businesses as much as possible, that’s why we have this huge discrepancy between the haves and the have-nots, and so why wouldn’t they want to continue that process? Now that process has given us a wonderful, beautiful Downtown environment and I can applaud that. But at the same time, it has caused a huge gap, or neglect let’s say, of our neighborhoods and our community. It also has perpetuated ideas around taxation of the typical citizen of Columbus when all the benefits of that taxation are primarily targeted for, again, Downtown and big businesses. So we have to develop a system that can be supportive of Downtown development but focuses on our neighborhoods and our communities where so much is needed.
JB: What in your experience and your history do you think you bring to the race that your opponent doesn’t have?
TB: Well first of all, my opponent has never worked outside of politics. My opponent is a career politician. So my opponent doesn’t have the opportunity of leading an organization. My opponent has never had an opportunity to work in the private sector, to focus in the private sector. Yes, he held a token position in the private sector I believe when he was on the school board, but as soon as he left the school board, he became a full time, well he was already a full time politician even on the school board, but it just increased in focus and direction when he got off the school board. So when you look at my background, when you look at my college degrees, when you look at the policies programs that I teach to leaders of this city, when you look at my background as a civil servant when I worked for the city, even when I worked for the city I was over processes, I was over employees, so I had the responsibility of working for the public in an administrative fashion. And then there’s the sensitivity that I have. You know, a lot of talk has been focused on my time on the school board, but what people don’t focus on is the time I spent on, and as president of the Columbus Metropolitan Library Board, the time I spent on the ADAMH Board, the time I spent on Franklin County Children Services Board, and so it’s not just a school board situation that has given me a sensitivity and understanding of the needs of people, it’s the several community boards that I’ve sat on successfully, and those boards have contributed to the fiber of this city. So if you look at my background in totality and not just focus on any one or two particular areas, you see that there’s a well-rounded and very sophisticated background of experience that I bring to this campaign.
JB: Which issues do you think will be the ones that characterize your campaign for mayor? Which are the issues that you want to focus on the most as you’re running for mayor, and if you’re elected, would want to focus on during your first term as mayor?
TB: I think community development. We have to build our infrastructure in the community. There’s been promises for decades that the city was going to build sidewalks and put up streetlights in various communities where that doesn’t exist. We have children, small children, walking to their bus stops in the dark. We have small children walking to their bus stops, once they get there, they’re standing in the street because there’s no sidewalks. That has to be something that we confront right away. We also have situations where too many of our neighborhoods are filled with vacant buildings, it’s just a lot of blight, and so we have to do something about that as well. We have ideas about how to approach some of the terrible conditions that exist in our community and our neighborhoods, so that will be our focus. It’s neighborhoods, it’s communities. It’s all about building, uplifting, bringing some vibrancy, if you will, to our communities and neighborhoods and with less focus on Downtown development.
JB: One of the things a lot of people talk about is that historically as a city, Columbus has been a Democratic city, so how to you plan to overcome that especially among Republican voters who might just want to stay home and stay out of it because they maybe can’t imagine a Republican mayor of Columbus?
TB: Well we’re just gonna get them fired up. See, what people have to understand, it’s not, there’s no Democratic or Republican way to provide city services. You know, the honorable Joyce Beatty said this herself this week, that it’s not as much about Republicans and Democrats as it is more about American values. So consequently, we have to express what American values represent in this city, and if in fact we are living and servicing based on American values. And I don’t think we are, and we’ll bring that to light as well. So I’m very optimistic and confident that people in Columbus, Ohio, they are astute enough to know that just because one is a Republican that doesn’t mean that person isn’t a good person to have as a government leader. I’ve got to tell you, the amount of votes that I received when I ran for school board far surpassed the number of Republicans that voted, so I received a lot of Democratic votes in the past, and I expect to receive a lot of Democratic votes in this campaign.
JB: Is there anything you’d like to mention that I didn’t ask about?
TB: Not necessarily, I think that as the campaign unfolds there’s going to be a lot that we’ll have to offer as far as educating the public about their choice. And obviously the public will have a choice. Do you choose to maintain the status quo, and we will explain what that status quo is all about, or do you choose someone who is sensitive to the needs of people and not as sensitive to the needs of business. I teach business, I’m a professor of business, but at the same time, business needs to support communities and citizens in the areas where they reside, and I think with a little bit of direction, I think with more collaboration, our businesses will be more of an asset to our typical citizens than they are. Those are the focal points, if you will, of my campaign. To work for the citizens of Columbus and develop sustainable programs, so when I’m gone these programs still exist, they will still continue on and improve the welfare of all citizens of Columbus, and again, not just those that live Downtown.
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