Our View: Refreshing Ward 1 campaign leads to first female council member in a decade




The race for Ward 1 Columbus City Council position didn't attract much attention, not even from voters.


In both Tuesday's runoff, where Esther Stewart edged Liz Terry to win the open council seat, and the Sept. 25 election, which featured a field of nine candidates, about 600 of the ward's roughly 2,700 registered voters made it to the polls.


The election, held to fill the unexpired term of Gene Taylor, who died on Aug. 5, may not have been the talk of the town, but in some respects it was an election to be admired.



The field of candidates were drawn from regular citizens. There wasn't a single candidate who had ever been an elected official, and there were only a couple who had ever run for office. The candidates ranged in age from 23 to 70 and featured folks from all sorts of backgrounds - an attorney, a cafeteria worker, a retired nurse, a public works employee, to name a few.


As a group, they were representative of the residents of Ward 1.


This also was a "shoe leather" election. Campaign signs were few, advertising non-existent. Candidates knocked on doors, worked the telephone and relied on their reputations and word of mouth.


The tone of the campaign in both the Sept. 25 election and Tuesday's runoff were refreshing. These were positive campaigns, with the candidates making their own cases with voters without attacking their opponents. These days, that's a rare and wonderful thing.


What also proved to be unusual is that five of the nine candidates were women and both of the candidates who made it to the runoff were women, assuring that the city would have a woman on the city council for the first time in 11 years.


After the race was over, both Stewart and Terry were thoughtful in their reactions.


Both expressed a heartfelt desire that the election was about listening to the people of Ward 1 and representing their needs. There were no grand campaign promises offered, just a heart-felt and humble commitment to service.


We are encouraged by that approach. It is often easy to forget the people once the ballots have been cast.


We congratulate Terry and all the other candidates who ran, but did not win. Through their grass-roots efforts to connect with the people of Ward 1, we believe they've helped bring their community together.


We also congratulate Stewart and wish her success in her new role.




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