Pickerington Times-Sun

Pickerington City Council election

Blair's choice to not run sets up unopposed races

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With four candidates on the Nov. 5 ballot vying for four seats on Pickerington City Council, there might not be any surprises come election time, but there is sure to be change.

Pickerington City Council President Gavin Blair will not seek re-election for another four-year term, essentially opening up his seat for newcomer Brandon Ogden, who is running for his first council seat unopposed.

Ogden is on the Nov. 5 general election ballot with incumbent Pickerington City councilmen Tony Barletta, Jeff Fix and Cristie Hammond, who are also running unopposed.

Blair, elected in November 2009, said new job responsibilities forced him to step aside.

He assumed duties as CEO of the Dayton Area Board of Realtors last June.

"I love the Realtor family which I have been part of for the last four years of my professional life," Blair said.

"It is great to fight for homeownership everyday," said Blair. "I might run for office again down the road, but for now I want to focus on the Dayton Board and dive head first."

Blair said he will finish his term on City Council in December, but plans to remain involved in the Pickerington community after his term is over.

"I just don't have the time to devote to council to be fair to the city anymore," he said, adding his ties to the city will remain strong.

"I love Pickerington," Blair said. "I was born and raised here and my wife and I have chosen to make this our home. The last four years have been incredible and we have accomplished great things."

Whereas the upcoming election marks Ogden's first foray into elected politics, he said he would bring a political background to City Council.

He previously worked for Steve Austria, U.S. Representative for Ohio's 7th District.

After Austria left politics, Ogden continued to work for his consulting firm.

"I do consulting for a dozen different manufacturing and defense clients," Ogden said.

He also teaches business and government courses as an adjunct instructor at Ohio Christian University.

If elected, Ogden, at age 32, would be the youngest member of Pickerington City Council.

"I can hopefully bring some fresh ideas and be as objective as possible," Ogden said.

He said he was prompted to throw his hat in the ring out of desire to get involved after living in Pickerington for more than seven years.

"In Pickerington I've always been on the outside looking in," Ogden said.

"I felt I should have been involved already. I hope to add continuity to what Gavin and City Council has already established," he said.

Ogden said he has several areas of interest which he would like to focus on as a member of City Council.

One of them is that he would like to see "real commerce" in Pickerington, rather than simply more chain retail and restaurant establishments.

"Light industrial and manufacturing could bring in a good tax base for (Pickerington)," he said.

Ogden said Pickerington also lacks a centralized "community center" in which to host recreational and conference opportunities.

"Westerville and Groveport have amazing community centers that can allow for a lot of different things to be centered around," he said.

"It brings the community close together."

Ogden said as a father of two pre-school children he would like to be involved in making sure area drug prevention programs see continued support.

"Fairfield County and Pickerington already are overrun with heroin and prescription drugs," he said.

"I definitely want to focus on prevention."

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