Local voters are poised to decide races for Hilliard City Council and the Hilliard City Schools board on the Nov. 5 general-election ballot.

Six council candidates -- three Democrats and three Republicans -- are vying for three seats.

The general-election slate for council candidates is determined by a spring partisan primary if more candidates file than the number of seats that are up for election. However, local voters also will consider Issue 26, a proposed charter amendment to eliminate the partisan primary elections, on the Nov. 5 ballot.

Meanwhile, Hilliard is transitioning from a strong-mayor form of government to a city-manager form because of a charter amendment voters approved last year.

For school board, five candidates are running for two seats. The race is nonpartisan.

Four other races -- those for fiscal officer and trustee in Brown and Norwich townships -- are uncontested.

City Council

Two Republican officeholders, Pete Marsh and Omar Tarazi, are seeking election for the first time. They were appointed to council early in 2018 and 2019, respectively, replacing Joe Erb and Albert Iosue.

One other Republican, Bob Stepp, and three Democrats -- Tina Cottone, Deryck Richardson II and Cynthia Vermillion -- also are on the ballot.

* Marsh, 39, owns Blue Oak Patio & Landscape and lives on Goldenrod Street with his wife, Beverly, and their three daughters.

He earned a bachelor's degree in accounting from the University of Notre Dame and a master's degree in landscape architecture from Ohio State University.

Hilliard is a "great city to call home" but "I believe we can make Hilliard better," Marsh said.

He said his goals include ensuring the city has a responsible budget, improving collaboration with other governments, making the city more business-friendly and balancing residential growth.

* Stepp, 63, is retired and lives on Huntwicke Drive with his wife, Cathy. They have one daughter.

He is a graduate of the former Columbus North High School -- now called Columbus International High School -- and attended Ohio State.

The recent transition to a city manager provides Hilliard with "a golden chance to make much needed improvements" that include reducing traffic congestion, creating more gateways to the city and "putting Hilliard on the map as a weekend destination," he said.

* Tarazi, 40, is a lawyer and lives on Sandbrook Lane with his wife, Heather O'Bannon, two children and three stepchildren.

He earned a bachelor's degree from Franklin University and a law degree from the University of Dayton.

"The transition to a city manager is a watershed event, of which I want to be a part," Tarazi said. "The next couple of years hold great potential to modernize our city government, develop our parks and trails and develop our city with a collaborative approach with the schools and township trustees."

* On the Democrat side, Cottone, 66, is retired and lives on Dublin Road with her husband, Rick.

Cottone has a bachelor's degree in English from Ohio State.

Cottone said she is seeking election to "work toward planned growth and development" and to "strengthen the foundational aspects of the community to ensure future resilience."

* Richardson, 37, owns Richardson Marketing Group and lives on Drayton Road with his wife, Desiree, and four children.

He has a business degree from Ohio Dominican University.

Richardson said he is seeking election to create a council as diverse as its constituents.

"Hilliard is becoming more and more diverse, and I believe leadership should follow suit," he said. "I've always been a firm believer that if you want to make a difference, just go make a difference."

* Vermillion, 59, is a residential real-estate agent for Coldwell Banker King Thompson and lives on Tallowtree Drive with her husband, Sam. They have four children ages 17 to 25.

She earned a bachelor's degree in telecommunications and film from San Diego State University.

Vermillion said she is seeking office to give "Hilliard residents a strong voice in the future development of our city."

School board

Heather Keck did not run for reelection, so one-term incumbent Nadia Long faces four challengers in Brian Morgan, Jon Parker-Jones, Brian Perry and Stasi Trout.

* Long, 39, lives on Claytonbend Drive in Galloway with her husband, Brent, and three children.

She is a quality and food-safety technician at Mars Petcare and an associate at Joann Fabrics and Crafts.

Long has a bachelor's degree in animal sciences from Ohio State.

She said she learned much about the district through participation in a levy campaign, the opening of a new middle school and the district's visionary plan for the future, Next X.

"I will bring this experience and continue to serve the district," Long said. "Being a parent of elementary students, I bring a different outlook to the board discussion due to my daily experience and investment in the future of the district."

* Morgan, 36, lives on Dinsmore Castle Drive in Columbus with his wife, Nicole, an intervention specialist for Upper Arlington City Schools, and their 20-month-old son.

Morgan is an assistant prosecuting attorney for juvenile and civil matters for the Knox County Prosecutor's office.

He earned a bachelor's degree from Franklin University and a law degree from Capital University Law School.

Morgan said his experience as a juvenile prosecutor would transfer to the school board.

"As a juvenile prosecutor, I see every day what happens when schools fail to meet their promise to the community," he said.

* Parker-Jones, 49, lives on Landen Farm Road East in Hilliard, with his wife, Kathy, and two sons, ages 19 and 16.

He has been a teacher for 27 years and has taught in Upper Arlington for the past 25 years.

He earned bachelor's and master's degrees from Ohio State.

Parker-Jones said he wants to "ensure all students in our community gain the best education possible. I (want) to be part of a school board that works earnestly to continually support and improve the educational experiences provided by (our district)."

Perry, 26, lives on Snowberry Lane in Hilliard.

He is a 2011 Hilliard Darby High School graduate and has a bachelor's degree in political science and a law degree from Capital University.

Perry said he is seeking election "to give back to my community," and he will focus on "school safety, financial responsibility and creating a culture of community."

* Trout, 51, lives on Riverwood Drive in Hilliard with her husband, Wayne, and their two children.

Trout earned a bachelor's degree from Ohio State and a master's degree in business administration from Xavier University.

She owns her a fitness studio, where she is a wellness coach, and is a group fitness instructor at Premier at Sawmill Athletic Club.

After volunteering for various school activities, Trout said, she is prepared for the next step.

"All of these rewarding volunteer commitments, collaborating with students, staff, parents and community members, coupled with my passion to serve," are why I am seeking election, she said.

Looking for more?

The biography information reported in this story was provided by the candidates in response to a standardized set of questions.

Look for candidate Q&As and additional election coverage in coming weeks via ThisWeek Hilliard Northwest News in print and online at ThisWeekNEWS.com.

Military and overseas voting began Sept. 20; early in-person voting and absentee voting for others begins Tuesday, Oct. 8.