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Candidates: No agenda, just desire to serve residents

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Now that he's approaching 60, "I feel like it's time for me to turn more towards giving back to the community," Kristopher Keller said last week.

Laura Braun, too, wants to become more involved in the community to which she showed a commitment by buying her first home in fall 2011.

They each would like to be the newest member of the Clintonville Area Commission, filling the District 8 seat long held by John DeFourny.

A special election for the vacancy created by DeFourny's resignation is being held through absentee voting already conducted, early in-person voting Tuesday, Oct. 2, and the actual election Saturday, Oct. 6.

Braun (pronounced "Brown") was born in Toledo and grew up in nearby Sylvania, but went to high school in Pickerington.

"So I'm a local girl," she said.

After returning to her hometown to attend the University of Toledo, where she earned bachelor's and master's degrees, Braun returned to central Ohio and is now a business analyst with Motorists Insurance Group.

Keller was born on the East Side. He attended Bishop Hartley High School before his family bought a farm in Fairfield County when Keller was 16. He obtained a degree in agriculture from Ohio State University and took up farming for a decade, but it "wasn't very profitable," Keller said. In casting about for another career, he took the suggestion of a friend and became a chiropractor 25 years ago.

He bought an existing practice in Clintonville 22 years ago and moved to the neighborhood at that time.

"I think I have a pretty good feel for the community," Keller said.

"People have been really positive and they have been very excited," Braun said of her contacts with residents since deciding to run for the vacant District 8 post.

Keller said he was unaware of the opening until a few days prior to the filing deadline. At the urging of a friend, he said he began considering standing for the election.

"The more I looked into it, the more it sounded like something that I'd be interested in doing," Keller said.

Braun said she received a postcard in the mail seeking her views on filling the vacancy via appointment or special election. If it were the latter, she decided, she'd give it a try.

"It's a good opportunity to go ahead and give it a shot, see if I can be that positive voice for the community," Braun said.

As positive as people have been, they have offered comments such as "good for you" and "you're very brave," she said.

"I think Kristopher would agree with me that we really want District 8 to get more involved in the commission and not having people saying, 'That's very brave,' " she said.

"I think I want to start by letting people know that I am not coming into this election with any particular agenda," Keller wrote in a follow-up email to a telephone interview. "I do not have a pet project that I am supporting or one that I am opposing.

"My motivation comes more from wanting to preserve what is good about Clintonville and to build on that for the future."

Braun also said she is seeking the seat with no agenda in mind.

"Your No. 1 priority is just to be that advocate for that district with regards to the relationship with the city and the CAC," she said. "You want to serve the residents."

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