The Columbia Star
February 18, 2021
By John Cruse
In the aftermath of last week’s seismic shift on Columbia City Council, some candidates have emerged to vie for the open seats on council.
Dr. Aditi Bussells, the director of research at the Children’s Trust of South Carolina, has announced her intentions to run for the at-large seat, currently held by Tameika Isaac Devine.
“I think Columbia is experiencing a lot of change in growth and a lot of people are stepping up to serve, and some are moving on,” Dr. Bussells said. “Nationally, we are reckoning with the idea of non-political insiders stepping up and making decisions, specifically during a pandemic. My expertise in public health and my status of being someone who cares about social issues who doesn’t have political insider experience I believe will be very useful as we seek to address the affects that will be lasting for decades to come surrounding the COVID pandemic.”
Dr. Bussells has a lot of experience working with the City of Columbia. Along with her work with Children’s Trust, she was knocking on doors earlier in 2020 as part of the city’s Complete Counts committee, focusing on the last census. Dr. Bussells is also a board member with the Columbia Opportunity Resource, which focuses on recruiting and retaining diverse talent in the city. As part of that committee, Dr. Bussells is the diversity equity inclusion chair. She is a partner and co-founder of Resilient Richland, an initiative of the United Way of the Midlands focusing on training and engaging youth to prevent childhood trauma. She is also active with the Columbia Urban League, a member of the Leadership Class of 2021, and serves on the Commission for the Future of Columbia.
COVID-19 has made some focus more on virtual campaigning than the more traditional knocking on doors. Dr. Bussells said her early campaign may be more virtual in hopes that the vaccine will allow for more normal campaigning closer to the November election.
As she campaigns, she wants to focus on three issues: public safety and well-being; government infrastructure, and public health. While Dr. Bussells highlights those issues, she points out she wants to hear w