In the May 7 primary election, Hilliard voters will determine the three Republican Hilliard City Council candidates who will oppose three Democrats in November.

Three council seats are up for election on the Nov. 5 general-election ballot. Hilliard is one of the few cities in central Ohio to have partisan elections for council seats.

No primary outcome is necessary for the Democrats because only three, Tina Cottone, Deryck Richardson II and Cynthia Vermillion, were certified Feb. 6 by the Franklin County Board of Elections to run for council.

However, four Republicans were certified: Albert Iosue, Pete Marsh, Bobby Stepp and Omar Tarazi.

Two of the seats up for election are held by Marsh and Nathan Painter, who did not seek re-election. The third was held by Iosue and now is occupied by Tarazi after he was appointed to City Council on March 18.

Iosue resigned Feb. 10, four days after the board of elections' primary filing deadline, but he has said he still plans to run in the primary in pursuit of another term.

Tarazi was the only candidate certified to run in the primary among the five people City Council interviewed to finish Iosue's term.

The others interviewed were Robert Apel, Brian English, Theodore Owens and Greg St. Clair.

The deadline to file as an independent for the Hilliard council election is May 6, according to the board of elections website. The write-in deadline for the primary was Feb. 25, and it is Aug. 26 for the general election, according to the board of elections website.


* Iosue, 50, was in the final year of his third term on City Council and serving as president when he resigned.

He is a civil engineer for the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio and has a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from Ohio State University.

"As Hilliard continues to grow, there are more opportunities for Hilliard to thrive, and I believe I have the experience and professional background to continue to make Hilliard a safe and healthy community for the generation of children that follow," Iosue said.

He and his wife, Maureen, have three daughters and one son.

* Marsh, 38, was appointed to City Council in January 2018.

He owns Blue Oak Patio and Landscape and has a bachelor's degree in accounting from the University of Notre Dame.

Marsh said his goals include budgeting so "that our community needs are appropriately prioritized within our means," making the city more small-business friendly, balancing residential and commercial growth and collaborating with the Hilliard City Schools and neighboring townships.

"We can do so much more when we work together," Marsh said.

He and his wife, Beverly, have three daughters.

* Stepp, 62, is semi-retired owner of catering business and a graduate of Columbus' North High School who attended Ohio State and Columbus State Community College.

He was a member of Hilliard's defunct graphics commission.

Stepp said his goals include attracting "finer restaurants" to Hilliard.

"We do not want to be the fast-food hub of central Ohio," he said.

His other goals include working with the Franklin County Fairgrounds to identify events that would generate "weekend visitor money" and revamping the city's entrance from Interstate 270.

"Give it that 'wow' factor, something that anyone visiting Hilliard will remember," Stepp said.

He and his wife, Cathy, have one daughter.

* Tarazi, 40, earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from Franklin University and is a graduate of the University of Dayton School of Law.

A practicing attorney for families, small businesses and nonprofits, Tarazi wants to help the city transition into the city-manager form of government that begins Jan. 1, he said.

"I am running because I believe Hilliard is at a critical point in its growth and I believe that I can help to put us on a good-growth path for the coming decades," Tarazi said. "I want to develop a strong culture that is accountable, efficient, friendly and responsive to the needs of families and businesses in Hilliard (and) we must put in place procedures and systems to avoid another corruption scandal."

Heather Ernst, the former deputy director of the Hilliard Recreation and Parks Department, was sentenced to 12 months in prison Nov. 16 after she had pleaded guilty to one count of theft in office, a third-degree felony, and one count of attempted tampering with records, a fourth-degree felony. According to Jeff Blake, an assistant prosecutor for the Franklin County Prosecutor's Office, Ernst had spent $271,898 taken from daily admission fees from the city's two pool facilities over multiple years.

He and his wife, Heather O'Bannon, have five children.


* Cottone, 66, is a publishing project manager who has a bachelor's degree in English from Ohio State.

Cottone said her campaign is "focused on transparency, inclusion and serving the needs of all the citizens of Hilliard."

My goals are "to re-engage the citizens by reaching out to them as their representative," she said.

Cottone also said she wants to "actively invite voters into government" to establish goals "that are clearly in line with the wants and needs of the community."

Cottone is married to Rick.

* Richardson, 37, is president and CEO of the Richardson Marketing Group and a graduate of Ohio Dominican University.

"I've always been a firm believer that if you want to make a difference, you go make a difference," he said.

Further, Richardson said, he wants "to represent the minorities and those who may not be as blessed when it comes to finances."

"Hilliard is becoming more diverse, and I believe the leadership should follow suit," he said.

Richardson and his wife, Desiree, have three sons and one daughter.

* Vermillion, 59, is a real-estate agent for Coldwell Banker King Thompson and has a bachelor's degree in telecommunications and film from San Diego State University.

She said she is seeking election "to make our city government responsive to its citizens."

"The people of Hilliard have been left behind. Government should be for the people," Vermillion said.

She said she would reach out to small businesses, school board members and others.

"Relationships are key in well-functioning families, (as well) as well-functioning governments," she said.

Vermillion and her husband, Sam, have four children.