A five-way race for three seats on Pickerington City Council awaits voters in the Nov. 5 general election.

CORRECTION: Pickerington City Council candidate Brian Wisniewski and his wife, Lisa, have three children, not four. The print and earlier online version of this story contained incorrect information.

A five-way race for three seats on Pickerington City Council awaits voters in the Nov. 5 general election.

Council member Crystal Hicks, who was appointed by Mayor Lee Gray to fill a vacancy in June 2018, will seek to retain her seat Nov. 5. Former council member Brian Wisniewski and fellow challengers Nick Derksen, Kevin Kemper and William Reed will seek election wins.

In addition to Hicks' seat, those currently held by Mike Sabatino and Jerry Dailey, both of whom chose not to seek reelection, will be on the ballot.

Jacklyn Rohaly, who was appointed by Gray in February to fill Jeff Fix's vacant seat, also will appear on the ballot. She, however, will be unopposed to retain her seat and will serve the remainder of Fix's original term, which runs through Dec. 31, 2021.

Derksen, 31, of Stonebridge Boulevard is married to Amy Peirano Derksen. The couple have two children: Andrew, 4, and Albert, 1.

He has a degree in political science from Bowling Green State University, as well as a master's degree in public administration, also from BGSU.

Derksen is a member of the city of Pickerington Tax Appeals Board and the Pickerington-Violet Township Historical Society, and he is a social member of the Columbus Curling Club.

Additionally, he's a member of the BGSU Master's of Public Administration Advisory Board.

A director of legislative affairs for the Ohio Department of Higher Education, Derksen said his priorities as a council member would be improving public safety, "smart" community growth and planning, opiate and drug prevention, education and increasing resident engagement and maintaining a "financially responsible budget."

"I have learned over the recent years that public service should not be political but pragmatic," he said. "A locally elected city councilperson is elected to serve his/her constituency. This means by listening to families, elderly, farmers, businesses and community no matter how sensitive their issues are. One must be approachable, sensible and affable.

"I am running for office to revive these common-sense approaches, bring my knowledge of local government policy to the municipality and provide a fresh perspective and fresh face to our Pickerington City Council."

Derksen said he's running for his family, especially his two sons, "to make sure we continue to build a strong foundation in Pickerington."

"I am running for all the residents who want new blood and a collaborative person who will represent them in the best light possible."

Hicks, 38, of Coffeetree Court is married to Larry Hicks and has three children: Caden, Logan and Landon.

She said she has a career and technical education, adding she's worked since she was 15, starting a local pub diner to teaching at a career center. She currently is a unit coordinator at Nationwide Children's Hospital.

Hicks is a member of the Fox Glen Homeowners Association steering committee, a mom director for the Pickerington Youth Athletic Association and a volunteer with the Pickerington High School Central athletic boosters. She's a member of several school PTOs, as well as Grace Fellowship church.

"Pickerington is a great place to live and raise a family," Hicks said. "I know because I've enjoyed living in Pickerington for 14-plus years.

"The community, schools, and youth programs are second to none, in my opinion," Hicks said. "I believe in the same values as the mayor and majority of residents in the city of Pickerington: being fiscally responsible with our tax dollars; keeping our neighborhoods safe; investing time and energy in our community and youth programs."

Hicks added, "You don't get the community want; you get the community you build. I want to be a part of that effort and to serve the city of Pickerington residents."

Kemper, 43, lives on Milford Drive. He has an English degree from Ohio University. He coached PYAA soccer from 2017 to 2019 and is a former member of the Violet Elementary Parent Advisory Board.

He also is a former member of the Central Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, where he served as vice president and president.

"I want to help make Pickerington a place that works for all our residents, today and in the future," Kemper said.

"We have a solid community now, but we need to be making wise investments to create progress for Pickerington in the short term and in the years to come."

To accomplish those goals, Kemper said, he'd focus on four areas.

The first is neighborhood investment.

"Building sidewalks and bike paths and making regular neighborhood paving improvements are safety, health, economic-development and quality-of-life issues that have not received the attention and investment that is needed," he said.

The second is building a business community "beyond retail and residential development."

"The current trajectory we're on puts too much of a tax burden on our property owners, which in turn makes it difficult to pass school funding levies or secure funding for major community improvements," Kemper said. "With a greater focus on economic development, we can help to limit the tax burden on homeowners, attract jobs for our residents and broaden the available funding for important community projects."

Kemper's third priority will be to focus on a vibrant downtown.

"Olde Pickerington Village could be an incredible asset for our community as a driver of community engagement, pride and economic development," he said. "The city even commissioned a $35,000 study on improving downtown, only to let it languish and collect dust without adopting or amending it.

"This is a waste of taxpayer dollars and a waste of opportunity. We can do better."

Lastly, Kemper plans to enhance "cooperation with our neighbors."

"City leadership should be regularly meeting with school board members, Violet Township leadership and council members from Canal Winchester, Reynoldsburg and Columbus," he said.

"We won't always agree, but there are many areas in which we can work together for the benefit of our residents if we build relationships and cooperate."

Reed, 46, of Seven Pines Drive is married to Kelley Reed. The couple have two daughters: Ella and Chloe.

Reed has bachelor's degrees in communication and criminal justice, as well as an associate's degree in law enforcement, from Ohio University. He also has a law degree from Capital University Law School.

A member of the Ohio State Bar Association, Reed is an assistant coach for PYAA volleyball, and he said he regularly attend services and volunteer at Grace Fellowship.

"I want the best for Pickerington," Reed said. "City Council members make important decisions like how taxpayer dollars are used, who the city of Pickerington does business with, how the land within city limits is developed and what incentives are offered to attract new business -- i.e., new jobs.

"We need council members who are competent, honest and willing to put the interests of our community before their own. There is nobody I trust more than myself, at this point in my life with no strings attached, to do right by the people and businesses in Pickerington."

"My family and I have been blessed by the people who live and work here for more than 21 years," Reed said. "We're grateful for the impact it has had on our lives. It's inspired me to serve and contribute to the future of our city."

Wisniewski, 51, of Theron Drive is seeking to rejoin council after previously serving from 2004 to 2012. He's married to Lisa, and couple have three children: Becca Reimer, Rachel and Matthew.

Wisniewski holds an associate degree in accounting from Kent State University, a bachelor's degree in computer information systems from DeVry University and is pursuing a master's degree in cybersecurity from the University of Maryland.

He is a Pickerington High School Central Band Booster board member, former Pickerington Area Soccer Associate and Upward soccer coach and former Boy Scout and Cub Scout leader. He also teaches Sunday school at his church.

"Pickerington needs a strong voice on council to push through solutions to many issues facing our city and I am confident I am the person best poised to lead that charge," Wisniewski said.

"We have many issues facing our community, such as making Pickerington business-friendly and cutting through red tape at City Hall to make sure we're 'open for business,' speeding in the neighborhoods, car break-ins and neighborhood thefts, improved infrastructure, sidewalks and street lighting.

"I have been proactively meeting with members of the business community getting feedback about issues they face with the city. I have met with the city manager, development director, service director, finance director and police chief to discuss how we can make Pickerington safer and attract more commercial development within the confines of a fiscally responsible and conservative budget."

NOTE: Look for candidate Q&As and additional election coverage in the coming weeks in ThisWeek Pickerington Times-Sun and online at ThisWeekNEWS.com.