Bexley City Council member Ben Kessler plans to run for a higher office.

Bexley City Council member Ben Kessler plans to run for a higher office.

Kessler, 31, said Tuesday that he would seek the Ohio Senate seat currently held by Sen. David Goodman, a New Albany Republican and former Bexley councilman who cannot run for another four-year term because of term limits.

Kessler said he has become more familiar with Ohio's "political landscape" while serving on Bexley City Council. He has come to realize that local and state lawmakers often face the same challenges, such as economic and education issues.

These issues have a substantial effect on local communities but are largely dealt with at the state level, Kessler said in a letter announcing his candidacy for the 3rd District Senate seat.

"I have seen the need for good leadership at the Statehouse," he said in an interview Tuesday with ThisWeek.

The Franklin County Board of Elections confirmed that Kessler and two other candidates have obtained the paperwork needed to run for the Senate seat. The filing deadline is Feb. 18.

Kessler said he would not resign from Bexley City Council because he has important work ahead with his land-use commission and long-term strategic planning for city finances. He said the budget recently passed by council works for 2010, but the city needs a long-term plan.

"I'm fully determined to work on the issues that continue to face the city," said Kessler, who was elected to council in November 2007.

Kessler, a registered Democrat, said political affiliation is not something he wants to focus on during the campaign.

He has enjoyed the non-partisan aspect of city council because it provides "an intellectually honest debate focusing on the issues facing the city." The work of city council is not clouded by hidden agendas, he said.

"I believe that honest, open debate is lacking at the state level," Kessler said.

Through the encouragement of friends, people in Bexley and the Democratic Party, Kessler decided within the last two weeks to run for the Ohio Senate. He needs to collect at least 50 signatures of registered voters on his petitions.

"I'm prepared to run a hard-working and positive campaign," said Kessler, who intends to present his campaign platform in January. He is working with policy experts of various political backgrounds to present a "compelling, relevant and feasible" message, he said.

For more information about Kessler's campaign, visit