Barring any unforeseen circumstances, longtime Marysville resident and newly naturalized American citizen Henk Berbee will become a Marysville city councilman in January.

Barring any unforeseen circumstances, longtime Marysville resident and newly naturalized American citizen Henk Berbee will become a Marysville city councilman in January.

Berbee was one of three candidates who filed with the Union County Board of Elections for three at-large city council seats. Incumbent council president John Gore and councilman Mark Reams also filed for their at-large seats and like Berbee, are unopposed in the November election.

Berbee said his road to city council began many years ago, when his neighbor, a well-known figure in Marysville politics, suggested to him that he perform his civic duty.

"I've lived in Marysville over 30 years, and my neighbor was (former mayor) Tom Nuckles," Berbee said. "He and I were good friends, and we'd often talk politics. Now that I'm at a point where two of my children and my son-in-law are taking care of most of our business, I now have some free time and thought it would be a good time to use some of my efforts for public good."

For many years Berbee has been the president of the Berbee Bulb Company on Route 4, selling flowers and farm supplies. A working knowledge of flower bulbs came with his family's heritage, Berbee said.

"I moved over here from the Netherlands, with my wife, son and daughter," he said. "I was fortunate enough in 1969 to work an internship in upstate New York in a greenhouse. My family had always been in the nursery and production business, and shortly after my internship I asked my father if I could be a salesman and travel the U.S. In 1975 we made the decision to find a good distribution center, and we honed in on Ohio, which at the time was the number one horticultural state in the nation. We found a facility that was a former egg producing plant here in Marysville that suited our needs, and in 1982 we moved the family over and have lived here ever since."

During those decades Berbee lived in America with a green card. At the time, home to him was wherever his family was, he said.

"It all started about five years ago, when my mother (who stayed in the Netherlands) passed away," he said. "Going overseas isn't as enjoyable now as it once was. As long as my mother was around that definitely made an impact."

Earlier this March, Berbee went through the naturalization process and became an American citizen. Not only will this be his first elected office, but it will also be the first election in which he can cast his vote.

"We still have a few weeks where a write-in candidate could present itself, which is not likely," Berbee said. "I'd looked forward to making it into a race, I think the voters should have a choice in whom they elect, but obviously I'll take the position."

Berbee said he plans to put his experience running a business to good use while on city council.

"My background is in accounting, and I know that the budget process for next year will already begin to shape up in September and October," he said. "I'll be asking the council if I will be allowed to get that material ahead of time, that way I'm not missing a whole year. You don't run a business for 40 years if you don't know where your finances are coming or going to."