Hilliard councilwoman Stephanie Kunze was recently appointed by the Franklin County Republican Central Committee to represent Ward 4.

Hilliard councilwoman Stephanie Kunze was recently appointed by the Franklin County Republican Central Committee to represent Ward 4.

"The Central Committee is the governing body of the local Republican party," said Doug Priesse, chairman of the executive committee of the Franklin County Republican Party. "It is empowered to elect officers, screen candidates and bestow the county party's endorsement, oversee party activities and strategy, so it does play an important role."

"It's a volunteer position that's basically the grass roots for the party," Kunze said. "I heard it termed this way -- it's kind of like helping build the farm team."

The Franklin County GOP Central Committee consists of 149 Republicans from Wards throughout the county. Columbus has 86 Wards.

"Hilliard is divided into four Wards currently," Kunze said, "and the Republican Party has a representative from each one of the four wards."

Hilliard's other Central Committee representatives are Susan Bogan (Ward 3), Councilmen Timothy Roberts (Ward 1) and Brett Sciotto (Ward 2).

"We have office holders, retirees, college students, professional people, volunteers, party activists, bankers and everything in between," Priesse said of the representatives.

"Stephanie was appointed, along with several other people, to the committee and affirmed by a majority vote of the existing full committee," Priesse said. "It's a common practice, because every year, you have some vacancies due to death or people moving or resigning."

Kunze, who successfully ran for city council last year, replaces former councilwoman Kim Allison as Ward representative. Allison relinquished the post when she and her family recently moved. Kunze was Allison's campaign manager when she ran for council, and volunteered for Cheryl Grossman when she ran for State Representative.

"The more involved you are with other local candidates, even if you're not a candidate yourself, that support and volunteering your time strengthens and builds leadership within your party," Kunze said. "I think that was partially the reason I got the appointment - that past presence in Hilliard."

Central Committee members are elected every two years during the primary election. Kunze said she will seek election to the Ward 4 seat in May. Priesse said she will have to file a petition and get it certified by the board of elections to be on the ballot.