Five candidates are seeking one of three available at-large Gahanna City Council seats in the Nov. 5 election.
Incumbents Karen J. Angelou of Cannonade Court and Nancy R. McGregor of Academy Court are being challenged by Merisa Bowers of Higley Court, John M. Hicks of Helmbright Drive and Michael Hroncich of Gulf Stream Court.
Incumbent Brian Metzbower isn't running for reelection.
Angelou, 74, said it has been 38 years since her first election to Gahanna City Council as the Ward 2 council member.
"Since that first election, I have been elected a record nine consecutive terms and a record 11 terms totaling 30 years of experience," she said. "As a 48-year resident, I have seen the community I love grow and thrive. I bring a history of experience, effective leadership and total commitment to excellence."
Angelou said she's trustworthy, transparent, prepared and dedicated to moving the community forward.
"My attendance record is notable, and I believe attendance is a necessity for every council member," she said. "You can't do the job if you are not there. I also have a commitment to the eight-year representation at MORPC with perfect attendance."
In 2014, she was elected to the executive board and in 2016, she was elected to the leadership of MORPC.
"I have completed a two-year secretary term and am in the second year as vice chair," Angelou said. "If elected to Gahanna City Council, I will be honored to complete the leadership role and become the MORPC chair for 2020-21."
She graduated cum laude with a bachelor's degree in music education from Capital University in 1967.
Angelou has been married to her husband, Richard Angelou, for 53 years.
She's an eight-year representative to MORPC, is a Visit Gahanna Convention and Visitors Bureau founder and is the first elected official to become a Certified Tourism Ambassador. She also volunteers at the Creekside Blues and Jazz Festival and Gahanna Parks and Recreation Foundation's Hops and Vines Festival. She is a member of the Creekside District Alliance, Sustainable 2050 Community, Gahanna Police Chief's Monthly Civic Association Meeting, the Peace Lutheran Choir and the Gold Life Master American Contract Bridge League.
McGregor, 66, said she has had the privilege of helping citizens with their problems through the 18 years her husband, Jim, was Gahanna mayor and during the 12 years she has served on council.
"From questions about potholes to questions about city finances, I have been accessible and available to help residents," she said. "With our increase in funding, due to passage of Issue 12, this knowledge, experience and historic perspective will be invaluable in working with the new mayor and council as we begin to catch up on our street and park maintenance, our police staffing and our recreation opportunities."
McGregor has a bachelor's degree in botany from Miami University and 40 hours of post-graduate hours from Ohio Dominican University.
She and her husband, Jim McGregor, have three adult children and eight grandchildren, seven of whom are in the Gahanna schools.
McGregor is a 35-year member of the Gahanna Historical Society, a volunteer innkeeper at the Lily Stone B&B, a member of the Oakhaven Garden Club and attends New Life Church.
Bowers, 36, said she has the experience, skills and deep-rooted values to advocate for and protect Gahanna's most important assets.
"As a council member, I will use my skills as an attorney and mediator to protect the city from future liability and communicate meaningfully with everyone in our community," she said. "I also see the need to build bridges both within Gahanna and with our neighbors. This includes expanding public-private partnership opportunities and improving the relationship with neighboring townships and our amazing school district."
With projections that the metro region will grow by one million people in the next generation, Bowers said, Gahanna must be prepared to confront the coming challenges and opportunities while protecting the parks, children and each other.
Bowers has a bachelor's degree with departmental honors from the University of Cincinnati, and graduated cum laude with a law degree from Case Western Reserve University.
Her husband, Curtis, is a 20-year veteran paramedic with Delaware County EMS.
They are the parents of a son who will be 3 years old in December.
Bowers is a member of the Gahanna Moms Network, the Gahanna Foundation, the Gahanna Area Chamber of Commerce, Columbus Bar Association, the Gahanna Land Use Plan Steering Committee, the City of Gahanna Area Commission and Equality Ohio, among others.
Hicks, 45, said he's running for council because of a need to improve the flow of information to the public.
"As a CPA, I translate tax and accounting information into a format that is easily understood by those not familiar with financial rules and regulations," he said. "I am trusted by my clients to provide the highest quality and accurate results."
Hicks said, if elected, he would leverage those skills to help improve the flow of communication.
"There is also a need to bolster confidence that taxpayer money is being spent prudently," he said. "As an accounting and tax expert, I will help ensure the fiscally conservative spending of resources and accurate reporting of financial information."
Hicks said it's important to serve before asking to lead.
He said his past and current service to Gahanna, combined with his professional qualifications, make him uniquely qualified to lead the city as a member of council.
"I possess the strong ethics and integrity required for this position," Hicks said.
He has a bachelor's degree in accounting from Otterbein University.
Hicks is married to Kirsten, a teacher in Pickerington Local Schools, and is father to Lillian, an eighth-grader at Gahanna Middle School South.
Hicks is a member of Gahanna's Charter Review Committee, the Community Reinvestment Area Housing Council, the Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation Board, and the city community improvement corporation and the planning commission, where's he's current chairman.
He's also a member of Sunrise Lodge No. 783 F&AM and the Gahanna Foundation, where he serves as board treasurer.
Hroncich, 37, said he's running for council because the average resident doesn't know where their tax dollars are being spent.
"With my over 10 years of experience in accounting and finance, I will simply explain where resident's tax dollars are being spent, and why," he said.
"In addition, residents do not trust our elected officials. The way to bridge this 'trust gap' is through greater transparency."
For every meeting he attends and every vote he makes, Hroncich said, he would send it out in an email, and put it on social media.
"I will do everything I can to make sure every resident knows what is going on within Gahanna, every step of the way," he said.
Hroncich has a bachelor's degree in business administration from the Ohio State University.
He has been married 11 years and has three children.
NOTE: Look for candidate Q&As and additional election coverage in the coming weeks in ThisWeek Rocky Fork Enterprise and online at ThisWeekNEWS.com.