Columbus City Council {_getChooseLabel(this.selections.length)}

Columbus residents will choose among six candidates to fill three seats on City Council.Read more:Dispatch endorsement
Choose two candidates from below to compare.
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    Jasmine Ayres Community Activist

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    Mitchell J. Brown Columbus City Councilmember

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    Kieran Cartharn Small business owner

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    Shannon G. Hardin Columbus City Councilmember

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    Will Petrik Grants Associate

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    Priscilla R. Tyson Columbus City Councilmember President Pro Tempore

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Biographical Information

As Columbus' population explodes in the next two decades, what challenges does the city need to prepare for? If elected, how will you help the city prepare?

What actions can council take, if any, to improve the relationship between police and Columbus’ black community? How will you ensure that those steps are taken?

A city-commissioned study determined that incentives Columbus offers are too generous for development in already-popular areas such as the Short North but not generous enough in areas of the city that aren't thriving. Should the city continue to offer incentives in the Short North? What would be your approach to incentive deals that require council approval?

Why are you the best-qualified candidate for this position?

What else would you like to say to voters?

Age 27
Education University of Texas at Austin LBJ School of Public Affairs Master of Public Affairs 15' ----- Wake Forest University 12'
Experience I have spent my life in pursuit of justice and equality, from coaching high school football at my alma mater to engaging with the Texas State Legislature and Columbus City School Board on issues of restorative justice.
Family I am proud to come from a long line of strong, tenacious, educated women who constantly remind me to stand tall.
Religion I am Baptist and have been attending New Salem Missionary Baptist Church for over 15 years.
Campaign website
YouTube Video
Twitter @Ayres4Columbus
We face two main challenges in our city. The first is an affordable housing shortage We must work with developers to build mixed income housing, especially if they are receiving property tax abatements. Downtown living should not be solely reserved for the wealthy. Columbus is the second most economically segregated city in the country, a problem we must address. We thrive on diversity and are our best selves when we work, live and eat together.

The second is the growing strain on our public transportation system. Our roads and highways are already beyond capacity, and we can’t expand them indefinitely. Rapid transit systems like light rail are essential for a city the size of Columbus, and create jobs and connect communities across the city. Instead of having to take three buses to get to the doctor’s office, people should be able to use our rail system to move around the city with ease. We will look to federal and state dollars to offset the cost of construction
First, we must demand independent investigations after police involved shootings.

Second, we must require drug testing after every officer involved shooting, just as we do for other types of workplace accidents that result in loss of life.

Third, we must end the Summer Safety Initiative, which makes residents feel unsafe in their own neighborhoods.

Fourth, we must have all officers complete Crisis Intervention Training. Officers are often the first point of contact for the mentally ill, and it’s essential that they know how to handle these situations without violence.

Fifth, we should create a program between the city and local community colleges that encourages potential police recruits to get an associate degree in criminal justice. Bridging the two year gap between high school graduation and eligibility for admission to the police academy will keep young people focused on a future in law enforcement and equip them with the necessary skills to perform in a high stress job.
When the city offers tax abatements to major corporations and developers, those companies do not have to pay their fair share in taxes. The responsibility for that tax revenue is then passed onto working families and small businesses.

We need to limit tax abatements in the Short North, especially those for large, wealthy corporations. The focus of our abatements must be on small businesses, which are the backbone of our local economy.

If we offer tax incentives, we must ensure there are enforcement measures in place to hold companies accountable. We need oversight to make sure companies are delivering on promised jobs.

Finally, we must make sure Columbus City School Board is included the decision making process, as tax abatements primarily affect funding for our schools. Attracting business is important, but good public schools and low crime rates are just as essential to a high quality of life for the people in our city. Let’s focus on residents and our children.
I have the ability and desire to connect the needs of the community to actual policy solutions. I have a Master’s Degree in Public Affairs from the University of Texas at Austin, so my education has prepared me well for this work.

But, more importantly, I have the real-world experience to act as a true representative of the people of Columbus. I understand this city. I grew up here. And for the past two years, I have devoted myself to serving our community, and learning from my neighbors in our churches, rec centers, and schools.

Those conversations have convinced me that it is time for a transition in leadership. Our city needs a council that is bold, independent, and willing to stand up to big corporations. As a candidate who is both 'of' and 'for' the working people of Columbus, I'm the right person to begin making that change.
In the two years I spent coaching football at my alma mater, Northland High School, we lost three students to gun violence. One of those students was one of my own football players.

Years of weak leadership and institutional neglect are tearing our neighborhoods apart. I am tired of losing the people I care about, and I’m determined to change Columbus for the better. We need a stronger community to be a safer community.

That’s what I hope to accomplish in City Council. This campaign is about lifting every voice in every neighborhood for a better Columbus. I absolutely love and cherish this city, and I believe its people are its greatest asset.

If we focus on doing what is best for all of our residents and all of our youth, I know Columbus has the potential to become a progressive leader in the Midwest. Together, we can make a safe, equitable future for all of us.
Age 70
Education Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government, Senior Executive Program University of Pittsburgh
Experience Columbus City Councilmember, Chair of Public Safety and Veterans Affairs Committees; Former Director of Public Safety for Columbus
Family Married; One Child
Religion Baptist
As the Columbus population and land area continues to grow, our greatest challenge will be to continue to provide the requisite level of Fire, EMS, and Police Services to our citizens. We will do that by taking advantage of the ever-changing technology tools to improve our efficiency while containing costs. The goal is to ensure the safe and clean neighborhoods for all of our citizens, regardless of their zip code.

Since taking office, I have prioritized utilization of technology for public safety forces by outfitting our police officers with body cameras, which are an excellent tool to increase trust between law enforcement and our communities. I would also like to provide more resources to the community camera program I initiated as Director of Public Safety. The cameras have proven effective in reducing illegal activity in high crime areas. Increasing the effectiveness of our safety forces through technology, will allow them to meet the needs of our growing city.
I believe that a large part of the relationship problems between police and the Columbus black community are as a result of officers not living in the communities they police. I believe if officers had the opportunity to interact with residents outside of an enforcement action, the citizens and the officers would be more comfortable interacting with one another. I would like for the city to be able to incentivize officers to live within the city limits.

Additionally, I believe as officers become more acquainted with residents in their precinct or patrol area, their relationships with community residents will improve. More police and community forums would allow residents to meet face-to-face and share their concerns with the officers responsible for their safety. I recently introduced legislation authorizing the funding and purchasing of additional bicycles for the Division of Police. Officers patrolling on bicycles are afforded the opportunity to interact more with the residents.
Columbus’ unprecedented growth has led to increased interest in private investment. This first-ever incentives study will provide City leadership with the information and tools needed to make sure incentives are used intentionally with the goal of making our community stronger. However, while the incentives study provided some key information, I will continue to base my decisions on incentives on the facts of each individual case and the merits each project adds to our community as a whole.
I have been honored to serve as your City Councilmember since January 2016, acting as chair of the Public Safety and Veterans’ Affairs Committees. With more than 40 years of public and private sector experience, I have served as the Director of Public Safety in the City of Columbus for 15 years, Director of the Ohio Lottery Commission, Director of Public Safety for the State of Ohio and the City of Cleveland. I have a strong passion to continue to make the city grow and continue to be a safe place to live, to work, raise a family and to visit.
Columbus is experiencing an exciting transition. As one of the fastest growing cities in the Midwest, our city is full of opportunity for investment, creativity and diversity. However, this growth, will ignite challenges of housing availability, employment opportunities and traffic congestion. It is important that the City have thoughtful and experienced leadership to help it navigate this new era in which every resident has the opportunity to share in our prosperity.
Age 20
Education High School Diploma
Experience I am a active member in the Church of God in Christ, the largest African-American Pentecostal church. Through my church I have been very involved in community and volunteer work in the Linden area, and I am a small business owner.
Family I was born to my deceased mother, Nichole Hogan, and my father, Thorsha Cartharn. I was raised by my grandmothers.
Religion Pentecostal, I am a active Member in the Church of God in Christ.
We need to strengthen our education system for our children, and we need to ensure that our citizens have access to good paying jobs. I will invest into our children's education and advancing the schools technology. Every child deserves access to a good quality education. I will invest into all communities, and I will push for a fair & balanced distribution so that small business can thrive and increase the amount of job opportunities.
I have the support from both sides, African American community leaders and the Fraternal Order of Police. First, both sides must be willing to come to the table and communicate in order to lay out an effective solution. Second, I will push to implement the D.A.R.E and Explorer's Program. With Columbus being such a growing city, we need more community liaisons. These officers will not only take necessary calls, but they will insert themselves in schools and recreation parks to build relationships within the community. I will insure these steps are taken by giving the funds necessary to do so.
Tax incentives should be heavily examined to see who benefits from it. The recent tax break deal with Easton developers was very beneficial for them, but the Columbus City Schools lost out on 46 million dollars. I will make sure that tax incentives are examined to see if they benefit the Citizens of Columbus.
My opponents are right. I am not as experienced as they are. I haven't been in public office since the 1800's, and I am not a career politician. They are right. I don't have their "experience". I am a young man with fresh ideas, energy, and a vision that's driven by my passion to serve the people of Columbus.
My vision is simple for Columbus. We need strong and true leadership. We need good quality education. We need new and fresh relationships between communities and our police officers. We need to better prioritize our funding in to order implement better programs that benefit our City. The question I want to leave you with is, "Are you better off that you were four years ago?" If so, keep your current leadership. If not, change it this coming November.
Age 30
Education I received a B.A. in Political Science from Morehouse College.
Experience I work as a Columbus City Council Member, chairing the Public Service and Transportation Committee, Small and Minority Business Development Committee, and the Neighborhoods Committee.
Family Single
Religion Christian
Campaign website
I believe that the lack of affordable housing is the greatest challenge facing Columbus. Experts estimate that Franklin County is short 54,000 affordable housing units. Columbus is the fastest growing city in the Midwest, and we can expect to see another million people in our region in the next 30 years. To close the affordable housing gap, we will need a portfolio of solutions including, but not limited to, inclusionary housing, incentivizing affordable housing, and designated streams of revenue for affordable housing. Additionally, we need to build on our current public transportation system to handle the coming population boom. By focusing affordable in-fill development along high-capacity transit corridors, we can facilitate neighborhood density and create a healthier, safer, and better-connected city. Ultimately, if a policy solution doesn't help create a city for all of us, then it isn't for Columbus.
I believe that our public safety officers need to represent the community they serve. Mayor Ginther and I created the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and City Council can support efforts to recruit more black and brown Columbus residents to law enforcement. There is immense value in a diverse and local police force, and I’m committed to creating career pipelines between Columbus City Schools and the Columbus Police Department. Furthermore, we must continue to review our training to ensure we are utilizing best practices as it relates to implicit bias, mental health crisis intervention, and cultural competency. However, we know that policing alone does not prevent crime. Therefore, it is essential to expand evidence-based, community-led violence prevention programs such as A.P.P.S. (Applications for Purpose Pride and Success) as well as trauma-informed care services to help families recover after emotionally distressing events.
Incentive usage needs to be guided by clear principles and create public goods such as affordable housing, good-paying jobs, or encourage investment to uplift underserved neighborhoods. By aligning strategic investments, incentives can fill a financial gap to bring new jobs and housing to residents in struggling communities. I’m proud that the City commissioned this study so that policymakers can ground our decisions in data rather than anecdotes. All of Columbus’ peer cities use incentives as do Columbus suburbs (e.g. New Albany, Dublin, Worthington). Incentives are a tool in our toolbox. The question is not whether to use incentives; The question is how to strategically deploy our incentives to reduce historic disparities between communities and raise the quality of life for all residents.
I was raised by my mom on the south side of Columbus. She taught me the importance of local government at an early age, and I saw how Columbus’ policies benefited members of my family on all sides of town. I also saw young African Americans struggling. With nearly a decade of public service experience in executive government & policy development, I have the background to create a safer, more inclusive city for vulnerable young folks in our city. As the External Affairs Manager for Mayor Coleman, I developed & oversaw programs around violence intervention, anti-recidivism, and African-American health. I believe that my diversity is a tremendous asset and provides me the perspective to stand up for our citizens. Columbus is an open and inclusive city, and it is essential to have a diverse voice at the table. Most importantly, I am a public servant. I believe that we don’t serve to win elections; we win elections to serve.
Columbus is at a crossroads. Our city is growing, and the decisions made now will shape how we grow for decades. Columbus is on the right track, boasting low unemployment and an inclusive culture. But, we are not without our problems. Columbus is the second-most economically segregated city in America, and one-third of our residents are struggling. So how will we grow? Are we going to prioritize high-income housing or create mixed-income communities where everyone shares in our city’s success? Are we going to continue with business as usual or make a lasting commitment to bridging opportunity gaps for young people of color? I know which Columbus I want my nephew Christian to grow up in. We can build a city with an affordable, robust transit system, inclusive housing and inclusive economic development, a city where your zip code doesn’t determine your life outcome. Senator Paul Wellstone once said, “We all do better when we all do better.” Columbus can and will do better.
Age 32
Education The College of St. Scholastica, 2009 Bachelor of Arts Major: Social Justice (self-designed) Summa cum Laude
Experience As State Director of Advocates for Ohio’s Future, I helped lead the statewide effort to pass health care expansion in Ohio. As a result, over 700,000 Ohioans now have health care coverage.
Family Click here for a family photo:
Religion I believe in a higher power, the goodness of people, and loving your neighbor as yourself.
Campaign website
Twitter @willpetrik
Columbus is a tale of two cities. For many of us, it’s a prosperous place, with plentiful options for housing, school and work.

But there’s another Columbus -- a city with one of the highest infant mortality rates in the country, where one out of every five children lives in poverty. Wealthy developers and corporate CEOs are profiting from the new growth, while many residents work harder than ever, and still struggle to afford basic necessities like housing and childcare.

This is our challenge--to make Columbus a city where all of us can make a decent wage, pay for the basics, and feel secure. Columbus can be a city with great schools and affordable housing, as well as vibrant arts, diversity and culture.

As we make the choices that shape our city’s future, we need to ensure that our growth is supporting small businesses, a stronger economy and better quality of life for residents in every neighborhood.
No mother should have to worry that her son will get shot in their neighborhood or during a traffic stop. We need to attack problems of violence at the root - not by increasing the frequency of police patrols but by rebuilding local economies, investing in our youth, and strengthening trust between police and communities.

I’ll work to shift the city’s budget and policy priorities to better align with requests from the community, which include trauma and recovery services and youth programming. Other cities have saved lives by implementing de-escalation training and incentives -- it’s time for us to try that here.

I also support hiring more police from within the communities they serve and making sure the diversity of our police force reflects the diversity of our neighborhoods.
I support ending tax giveaways to wealthy developers in the Short North and Easton. We need to make sure wealthy developers pay their fair share, so we can make meaningful investments in our schools and neighborhoods. We need long-term investments in affordable housing, quality education, and job training for working families.

I will work to make sure our schools, neighborhoods and residents get a better deal. For instance, for commercial and industrial development agreements, we can offer incentives based on job quality, such as new jobs that pay a minimum of $15/hr and include benefits. With residential development, we can make sure a portion of new housing is affordable for working families and seniors on a fixed income.

Finally, residents need access to information about how the city is making decisions about our money. We have a right to know exactly how our tax dollars are being invested.
I have a track record of making a positive difference for families. As State Director of Advocates for Ohio’s Future, he helped lead the successful push to expand Medicaid in Ohio. Because of this work, over 700,000 people now have access to healthcare coverage. Today, I continue to support the well-being of children and families through his role as Grants Associate with Local Matters, an organization committed to creating healthy communities through food education, access and advocacy.

Most importantly, I want to be a voice for everyday people, not the ultra-wealthy, who have directed the path of this city for far too long. As your representative in Columbus City Council, I will make sure that the interests of working families are always the first priority.
There are cities all over America that are making bold new ideas into realities that improve the lives of regular people. Columbus should be one of them.

But we can’t move forward with a broken City Hall. Our system is corrupted by money and power. If we want a safe, prosperous future for all of us, we need to get big money out of politics.

In Columbus, there are no restrictions on campaign contributions for local races. There’s something fundamentally wrong with a system that allows unlimited corporate donations to the same people who grant contracts and approve tax breaks.

Meanwhile, every City Council Member is currently responsible for the entire city’s population, which is approaching 900,000 people. District-based representation would give every resident a voice, no matter what side of town they call home.

It’s time for new leadership, and it must come from people who aren’t afraid to acknowledge the challenges we face, and will meet them with creativity, vision, and hope.
Age 62
Education Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from Franklin University
Experience Columbus City Councilmember 2007-Present; Sr. Director of Family Programs at Alvis
Family Married; Five Children
Religion Church of God
Campaign website
I am committed to maintaining our partnerships and supporting the planning strategies that we have formulated. Columbus will add 150,000 residents by 2050, making us one of the fastest growing cities in the Midwest. Columbus is a magnet for business and we must manage this growth in a way that strategically includes a future for each of our residents. To prepare we must enhance our transportation & infrastructure, address the affordable housing deficit, have a competitive workforce, ensure a social service infrastructure that improves the lives of the underserved, & improve access to healthy, affordable, local food. We have a proactive planning infrastructure in place: Columbus 2020; an annual Capital Improvement Plan; a Local Food Action Plan; we have been working with the Community Shelter Board and a number of human service agencies on affordable housing, & services for our most vulnerable residents
Communication, education, recruitment, & training are the key to improving relations between the police & communities of color. Unfortunately, this is a national issue from which Columbus is not exempt. As the legislative body, City Council’s primary role is to outline the city’s spending priorities as a part of the public policy process. To that end, Public Safety consumes 69 to 70% of Columbus’ annual budget, making Public Safety the city’s highest funding priority. As elected officials our first course of action is to listen to the residents we serve. We must create an environment between the residents and the public servants who put themselves in harm’s way to engage effectively. Thus our funding priorities must focus on community engagement, outreach, education, recruitment, & training, for the police as well as the citizens they are responsible for serving. I’m committed to funding and supporting programs and initiatives through the legislative and public engagement process.
Columbus is growing, however we must create a climate that balances growth with incentives that increase value without reducing current income – it’s about the long term impact of job creation and neighborhood investment. We live in a competitive environment and must never give up our right to compete. Over the last 5 years 119 expansion incentives have leveraged over $1.3 billion in private sector investment; created 13,050 new jobs; retained 33,031 jobs; added $768 million in new annual payroll & $3.4 million in new city income tax revenue. The Short North is an example of a neighborhood transformed. Incentives provide discounts on future revenue, primarily for ideas that do not exist. We overtook Indianapolis as the 14th largest city in part because we do things the Columbus Way –bringing people together to leverage public – private partnerships for the public good. I’m committed to balanced public policies that keep us moving responsibly. The Incentive study is an example.
I believe that I have the knowledge and experience to keep our city moving forward. As a lifelong, committed resident of Columbus, I am passionate about making our city the best it can be. I have been a member of Columbus City Council since 2007 and I have worked to improve job creation, economic development, safety, neighborhoods and the quality of life for Columbus residents. As chair of the Health and Human Services, Workforce Development, & Finance Committees, I have effectively dealt with some of the most important and pressing issues facing Columbus. Under my leadership as chair of Finance our city has maintained a AAA Bond Rating, & we have rebounded from the recession of 2008 - 2009. We currently have $73 million in our rainy day fund. I will use the knowledge & experience that I have obtained to navigate any future challenges that we are confronted with for a thriving Columbus!
I am committed to jobs, safety, and neighborhoods as these issues comprise our greatest challenges. Our history of sound fiscal management and economic growth has strategically positioned us for the future. However success brings new challenges – affordable housing, a flexible workforce that can meet the needs of the business community and a transportation infrastructure that can keep our city moving with a variety of transportation options. We also have social challenges which impact us – specifically the need to reduce poverty and resources to address opiate usage. With your support I believe that we can overcome these challenges together! I thank you for your support and I respectfully ask for your vote. .
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