Newly-Elected City Council Members Set Priorities for Term

After a competitive race for Oberlin City Council, voters elected seven of twelve candidates into office on Tuesday, Nov. 5.

Four incumbent councilors, Heather Adelman, Kristen Peterson, Kelley Singleton, and Linda Slocum were re-elected for another term. Ray English, Elizabeth J. Meadows, and Mary Price will replace three current councilors. Ronnie Rimbert was the only incumbent candidate who ran but was not re-elected. Bryan Burgess, who served as council president, did not run for re-election because he was term-limited. Councilmember Sharon Pearson also did not run for re-election.

Following the election, Councilmembers English, Peterson, and Slocum each spoke of their commitment to environmental sustainability.

“The most pressing issue is sustainability of the entire community, in every way,” Peterson wrote in an email to the Review. “For example, in addition to considering environmental sustainability, the City needs to address pedestrian access and safety in areas where it does not currently exist.”

When it comes to her goals for this term in office, Peterson plans to reinforce existing services.

“My top priority is to continue to support the excellent city services we have,” wrote Peterson. “I hope to continue as the City representative on the Ohio Municipal Electric Association Board, the focus of which is to support and protect municipal electric systems. The ultimate use of the Sustainable Reserve Funds will be a priority as well, assuring their use in line with the Climate Action Plan in a way to benefit the entire community.”

Slocum expressed her desire to involve the Oberlin community as a whole in communal decisions.

“We need to continue to find ways to engage the entire community in decision-making and be certain to lift up the entire community as we address city services, social and racial equity, community development, environmental justice, and neighborhood outreach,” Slocum wrote in an email to the Review.

English, a new addition to City Council, echoed the need for communication and unity.

“Our biggest challenge is to work cooperatively and effectively to address the issues we face as a community,” he wrote in an email to the Review. “To do that we need to resolve conflicts before they get out of hand; we need to increase understanding across lines of difference; we need to improve communication between the city and its citizens, among citizens themselves, and between the college and the town; and we especially need to develop a shared vision of how we want to develop as a community.”

Continuing the theme of community involvement in addressing the city’s issues, the councilmembers spoke on how College students and community members can participate in local government.

“First and foremost, being registered and voting is critical,” wrote Peterson. “There are often vacancies on City Boards and Commissions, and residents can apply to serve on any of interest.”

Slocum, too, urged all Oberlin residents to become more involved in their community.

“Small town Oberlin is a microcosm of any big city,” Slocum wrote. “Learn about food scarcity by volunteering at Oberlin Community Services or Oberlin weekday meals. Learn about educational disadvantage due to poverty by volunteering in the schools. Get to know townspeople personally by going to community meetings and faith communities. Apply to be on a city commission. Attend council meetings and speak out when there are issues that interest you.”

City Council meets on the first and third Mondays of the month at 7 p.m. in City Hall on 85 South Main Street. These meetings are held every month except for July and August and almost all meetings are open to the public.