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Turn-lane opponent Wetherholt elected to commission

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Elizabeth "Libby" Wetherholt will take her seat as the Clintonville Area Commission's new District 3 representative in July.

Wetherholt, an East North Broadway resident who has spoken with disdain of the CAC's recent support for a controversial left-turn lane project at North High Street, outpolled former District 3 representative Clare Balombin in an election that concluded Saturday, May 4.

Election committee chairwoman Sarah Snyder announced the results a little more than 90 minutes after the polls closed at the Whetstone branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library.

Wetherholt received 188 votes to Balombin's 127 in the only contested race.

Incumbent Kristopher Keller faced no opposition in his bid to return as the District 8 representative. He received 19 votes.

In District 6, where current representative Jennifer Kangas opted not to seek another term, newcomer Victor "Randy" Ketcham likewise faced no opposition in replacing the current secretary of the area commission. He received 34 votes in the May 4 election and in early in-person voting April 30.

Wetherholt will take the post being vacated by fellow turn-lane foe James R. Blazer II. He chose not to seek another term, citing disgust at the majority vote March 21 to once again back a project that would see a turn lane installed on East North Broadway allowing westbound traffic to turn left onto North High Street.

All four candidates were asked via email to express their reactions to the election over the weekend.

"I want to thank all who voted in the election," Wetherholt wrote. "As I spent many nights and weekends knocking on doors, I was energized by the wonderful conversations I have had, and ideas and encouragement I have received from residents throughout District 3. I thank everyone for their friendly smiles and support and I am grateful for the increased awareness of our neighborhood that I have developed in the past month. I know I will continue to learn and grow in my role as commissioner. I am looking forward to working for District 3 and Clintonville."

"What was great about the CAC election was meeting so many nice and interesting people in District 3 during the campaign," Balombin wrote. "Best of luck to the CAC and to the winners of the CAC elections."

"There are many opportunities and challenges for the commission in the years ahead," Keller wrote. "It seems like we have been stuck on a single issue for 10 years. It is time to move on. Clintonville is in the midst of a renaissance. The residents of Clintonville represent an enormous amount of buying power informed by a culture of environmentalism, health awareness and good taste. This demand is not being ignored, and the rapid growth in the number of locally owned eating and shopping venues in Clintonville is evidence of that.

"But the commercial development has to be managed in a way that enhances the livability of Clintonville and doesn't happen at the expense of the residents. There is a perfect storm of talent, money, market and entrepreneurship in Clintonville that can make us the envy of the Midwest as a place to live, play and work if we can manage that growth responsibly and securely."

"Having never run for public office, I found the CAC's election committee very helpful, especially with the new candidate orientation," Ketcham wrote. "Even though I ended up being unopposed, which I was not expecting, I'm glad I developed some campaign fliers. I distributed these as much as time allowed throughout a quite large geographical district. This gave me the opportunity to meet a lot of residents who are very committed to the areas in which they live, including many who are proud members of various neighborhood and street associations. It will be an honor to serve District 6.

"As far as the commission, I see the continuation of a trend where the commissioners are working together effectively for the betterment of the residents and businesses of Clintonville."

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