Colin Martin, vice president for governmental affairs for the Chamber of Commerce, confirmed Tuesday that he will seek to oust Mayor Teresa Tomlinson in next year’s mayoral election.
Martin said he will resign his position at the chamber on Dec. 31 and soon thereafter make a formal announcement of his candidacy. He said friends urged him to seek the office and he sees it as a way to serve the community.
Martin said he would like to see more servant leadership in the mayor’s office, more listening and less talking.
“I’ve been married for 24 years and been a father for 18 years. And the two most important lessons that I got out of that are, number one, I’m usually not the smartest person in the room and number two, I don’t have to be the person who is always right,” Martin said.
“Servant leadership is really in the end what we’re all here to do. I think that’s what the mayor ought to be, a servant leader, willing to let other people have the spotlight, to stay in the background and let other people have the glory.”
Martin also said he would like to establish a more “collaborative” relationship with Columbus Council.
“I would listen more and talk less,” he said. “I’d work collaboratively with the council and not have an adversarial relationship, which is what I sense when I watch council on TV.”
Tomlinson said she had heard of Martin’s intention to run for mayor and welcomes the competition.
“I feel very comfortable these past three years the citizens see that we’re on a sure-footed path to a very bright future. I think people are happy with the progress we’ve made,” Tomlinson said. “I love the campaign process. I welcome an opportunity to talk about all the things we have achieved and all the challenges we’ve overcome.”
Also in the race is Zeph Baker, who lost to Tomlinson in 2010 in a runoff.
“I’ve been in a three-man race before,” Baker said, referring to the 2010 race that included Tomlinson and Wayne Anthony. “What’s best for the community is what we’re all after.”
Martin’s first foray into local politics came in 1999 when he was chairman of ThinkTwice.org, a group that unsuccessfully opposed the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax that funded, among other things, the new main library branch on Macon Road.
In 2002, he ran unsuccessfully against Glenn Davis for Columbus Council Post 2, vacated by Bob Poydasheff, who was elected mayor that year. Davis carried 68 percent of the vote to Martin’s 32.
Martin said part of his motivation to make another stab at politics is a desire to give something back to a city that has been good to him.
“I’ve been really blessed in my life. I grew up in a 1,200-square-foot house with one bathroom. My parents raised seven kids in that house in Oakland Park,” Martin said. “This town has been very good to me, people have been very good to me, and I feel like I need to return some of what this community has meant to me.”