Traditionally, these letters are reserved for prominent political figures, business leaders, or mentors for mayoral candidates.
But about a week ago, during our Sunday family Facetime, our dad looked at us and asked that we write this op-ed instead.
We could write about policy, development, or his past experience at City Council, but that is a story anyone could tell. We are here to tell our story.
When our dad ran for his first at-large seat on City Council 17 years ago, we probably thought campaigning meant afternoons in our red plastic wagon with “kids meals” or a party at Birds on a Wire with lollipops.
Do you think we knew anything about politics at the ripe ages of 5 and 2? No, of course, we didn’t. We didn’t even grasp the magnitude of his win for years to come.
It’s not every day your dad unseats an 18-year-incumbent in his first election, but that’s why we found it so important today to share why a vote for Daniel Rickenmann is a vote for Columbia. Our dad’s vision for this city is to create a place where students can thrive, young professionals can grow, and families can foster their own community.
For college students to thrive, there needs to be a strong relationship between the city they call home and the school that brings them together.
Each and every South Carolina student supports restaurants, services, and even landlords just by their sheer presence in Columbia. Our dad understands that these students are a part of the bedrock of this city, and we must support them to stimulate our growth.
Many times, once these students graduate, they leave. Even our dad, who has now lived here for almost 34 years, never planned to stay past those first four. But then, at 25 years old, he was given the chance to pursue his dream and open his own restaurant.
Well, one restaurant turned into four, and the rest is history. For Columbia to become an attractive place for young professionals to come and stay, we have to create an environment that fosters and celebrates these dreamers and risk-takers just like our dad.
Finally, our dad has taught us from a very early age that there is great power and purpose in connection. Not only does he want to connect with and learn from the people of Columbia, but he wants to connect them with each other to encourage collaboration and growth for every citizen.
These connections can then strengthen our communities, whether that’s your neighborhood, the people you pass at the grocery store, or even your favorite Soda City vendor. (Shoutout to our favorite: Mary’s Arepas!)
We could fill an entire edition of The State with reasons why you should vote Daniel Rickenmann for mayor of Columbia, but we’ll just leave you with these 100 words:
When you vote for Rickenmann, you’re voting for the son of two Swiss immigrants who was raised by a single mother.
When you vote for Rickenmann, you’re voting for an innovator, an entrepreneur, and a man who has poured his heart and soul into this city for almost 34 years.
But most importantly for us, when you vote for Rickenmann, you’re voting for a man who, no matter how busy, always made time for us, from YMCA soccer games to ballet classes to cooking Saturday brunch for our friends, and someone who we are lucky enough to call our dad.
Carlyle and Ellie Rickenmann are Daniel Rickenmann’s daughters. Carlyle is a recent graduate of UNC Chapel Hill, working in public relations in New York City, and Ellie is a sophomore business major at the University of Georgia.