Democrats interested in Franklin County commissioner vacancy

Interest is high among local Democrats in hopes of filling a vacant seat on the Franklin County Board of Commissioners.

Columbus City Council Chairman Pro Tempore Elizabeth Brown, State Representative Erica Crawley, Franklin County Clerk Maryellen O’Shaughnessy, Worthington School Board Member Sam Shim and Board Chairman Gahanna -Jefferson, Beryl Piccolantonio, have announced their intention to seek the nomination, with many others considering the race.

“I know (they) won’t all show up, but I think the list was in double digits last week,” said Michael Sexton, chairman of the Franklin County Democratic Party executive committee.

Who are the main Democrats looking to replace Marilyn Brown as Franklin County Commissioner?

County commissioner Marilyn Brown resigned last week citing family health concerns in her decision to retire.

The other two commissioners, John O’Grady and Kevin Boyce, are due to name an interim replacement on Friday afternoon.

This individual will serve approximately a month and a half, with the Franklin County Democratic Party Central Committee selecting a permanent replacement for the remainder of Brown’s term.

“I am thinking of calling a meeting by the end of June to appoint the replacement,” Sexton said. “… Right now we’re trying to understand the process, if we’re going to have a selection committee, how we’re going to present it.”

O’Grady said the acting commissioner would not be one of the candidates for the permanent appointment.

“The central committee needs to know that this is their decision,” O’Grady said. “And there are people who work hard for their support.”

The seat will also be entered in the primary and general elections next year for a new four-year term. Salaries for county commissioners are set by state law and based on population; Franklin County Commissioners are paid approximately $ 112,000 per year.

Behind-the-scenes calls as prominent Columbus-area Democrats seek support for nomination

Behind the scenes, potential permanent candidates are calling central committee members and scrambling for support. O’Grady, long active in Democratic politics, said he had heard from more than a dozen interested people.

Sam Shim, Town of Worthington School Board Member

“When it comes to people who have expressed an interest, there are a lot of them,” Boyce said. “And that’s a good thing, because when you go to the Democratic Party Central Committee, there will be a lot of options to consider. I have no doubts that the person chosen will be of very good quality and will bring a lot to our three-member board. I am excited about the level of interest that has been expressed. “

Shim was one of the first candidates to publicly announce that he was seeking nomination.

“I am finishing my second term at the Worthington School Board, and as County Commissioner I will promote stronger partnerships with our school districts and provide better overall services to all students in our county,” he said. he declares. “Many families are in difficulty. We can do more as a county to help those in need. “

President of the Columbus Pro Tempore City Council Elizabeth Brown

Brown got the most votes out of eight candidates vying for four Columbus city council seats in the 2019 general election.

“This is a great opportunity to make a meaningful difference in our county and for over a million people,” said Brown.

Crawley is in his second term on Ohio House, representing the 26th District, which includes parts of eastern and southeastern Franklin County.

State Representative Erica Crawley, D-Columbus

“The things I worked on in the Legislature – children and families, maternal and child health, housing and homelessness, and economic development – are the same things I would continue to work on at the county, ”she said. “And I won’t be in the super-minority (as a Democrat in a Republican-controlled house in Ohio).” I could work with the other two commissioners on these things and continue to ensure that the residents of Franklin County can thrive, not just survive.

O’Shaughnessy served on Columbus City Council for over a decade before being elected Clerk of the Courts in 2008. She is in her fourth term in that post after being re-elected last year.

Franklin County Clerk Maryellen O'Shaughnessy

“It would be a seamless transition,” she said. “I’m a team player, I certainly worked for years with Kevin Boyce on Columbus City Council. I have known John O’Grady for a very long time. And I know how the county government works.

O’Shaughnessy added, “I can fight vigorously and effectively and win in 2022.”

Beryl Piccolantonio, chairman of the Gahanna-Jefferson school board, is also in the running. She is in her second term on this board. She is also the daughter of former Commissioner Marilyn Brown and Columbus City School Board member Eric Brown.

Beryl Piccolantonio, Chairman of the Gahanna-Jefferson Board of Education

“There are so many opportunities that we have because we have the best county in the state of Ohio,” she said. “We have all the resources; we have everything we need to be able to serve all of our residents. I want to make sure that we are using those resources to really address the systemic issues that underlie the disparity that we have here. I think I have the experience, I have the commitment and I want to be involved in it for the long term.

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