In Frank Capra's 1939 film "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," the title character is a patriotic but na´ve and idealistic U.S. Senate appointee who encounters corruption and cynicism, only to triumph in the end as a result of his inherent goodness and the faith he inspires in people.

In Frank Capra's 1939 film "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," the title character is a patriotic but na´ve and idealistic U.S. Senate appointee who encounters corruption and cynicism, only to triumph in the end as a result of his inherent goodness and the faith he inspires in people.

Emmanuel V. Remy, real estate agent with Coldwell Banker King Thompson and now the new president of the Northland Community Council, knows that's probably not how things would play out in the real world any more, but he also knows it's something worth shooting for.

Plucked from his post as student body president at tiny Adrian College to be campaign manager for candidate Mark Behnke's unsuccessful bid for the 7th Congressional District seat in Michigan in 1994, Remy was both drawn to and repelled by this immersion in politics.

But, he said, without that experience, he probably would not have begun serving his community, initially with the Clinton Estates Civic Association, then as vice president of the NCC and now as president.

"It was some of my political background," Remy said last week. "I didn't enjoy running a campaign, per se. I saw a lot of schmoozing that I don't really get into. But I also saw the result of what lot of good people can do in politics."

As was the case, he said, in "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington."

"Getting involved in my community was a way to get involved on a local level," he said. "What I really like is that we don't have the political infighting that they have even in other area commissions.

"I like to make the system work for the community and see that our voice is heard. It's kind of a lobbying effort on our part ... but we don't have to identify ourselves as Democrats or Republicans. We're just citizens of Columbus."

Remy was part of a whole new leadership team swept into office unopposed during the annual voting for NCC officers earlier this month. He succeeds Dave Paul, who stepped down after six consecutive terms. Paul will continue to serve as chairman of the council's development committee.

Also voted in unopposed on Feb. 7 were new vice president Gerry O'Neil, new secretary Brandon L. Boos, replacing Roseann Hicks, who will now concentrate on her duties as president of the Northland Area Business Association, and Sandy LaFollette, taking over as treasurer from Lyn Denney, who is relocating to Florida.

The NCC's first new president in six years was born in Michigan but grew up in various parts of central Ohio.

He graduated from Worthington High School when it was the only high school in Worthington. It was a given that he would go to college, although his generation was the first in his family to do so. Just where Remy would go was not such a given.

"It seemed like everyone was heading down to Ohio State," Remy said.

Instead, he went up to his home state to attend the small liberal arts college in Adrian, Mich.

"My high school was actually double the size of my college," he recalled.

And he wouldn't have had it any other way.

"It served me well," Remy said. "I joined a fraternity. I was student body president and I was one of two student representatives on the board of trustees."

And then, before he could even graduate, he was running a campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives.

"It was really cool," Remy recalled.

He remained with the campaign through the primary election and then took a post with the Battle Creek, Mich., trucking firm owned by the candidate. His mother had worked for a transportation logistics operation in central Ohio, and Remy was employed there in the summers when he was growing up. He developed a brokerage operation that enabled the company he was with to farm things out to other trucking outfits.

What brought Remy back to Ohio, after a further career in corporate sales that had him on the road a lot, was a confluence of things. First was his marriage to Elizabeth "Liz" Remy five years ago, after nearly six years of mostly long-distance dating. Second was getting downsized in 2008 from a software sales startup based in Austin, Texas.

After staying home for six months with son Elliot, who turns 3 on April 8, Remy said that he decided to do something he'd always wanted to do, which was start his own business.

Liz and Emmanuel Remy now have another child; daughter Katherine is 11 months old.

Emmanuel Remy, in addition to starting his real estate practice, got started in being involved in the neighborhood.

It felt, he said, like a natural thing to do.

"Taking a lead role, speaking out and speaking my mind seem to come naturally to me," Remy said. "I don't want to seem like I'm bragging, but I seem to have a lot of good ideas and I like to share them. It's not about getting credit for them.

"I keep striving to be the best and offer great solutions, and if it's broken, how do we fix it? And not just fix it, but make it the best.

"It's an exciting time for the Northland Community Council," he said. "We have all new leadership. The last leadership was great; I don't want to take anything away from them, but it's an opportunity to go in a new direction. It's a time to energize the council. Hopefully, maybe some people who never looked at us before will come out and help and maybe some people who walked away in the past will give us another shot.

"We're going to do some exciting things and some things I don't think a community council has ever done before."