Jones joins Bexley mayors race

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Bexley City Councilwoman Robyn Jones has announced her candidacy for the office of mayor, bringing to nine the number of residents seeking the office.

Jones, a first-term council member whose term expires in 2009, made her announcement at the July 23 council meeting.

She is the second sitting council member, and the first woman, to toss her hat into the ring. Fellow council member Matt Lampke was the first of the field to announce his intentions.

Jones said a number of people in the community encouraged her to run, and she decided not to pass up the opportunity.

"I thought I could some day be sitting in the nursing home thinking ‘I should have given it a shot,’" Jones, an attorney in private practice, explained.

Jones, a Bexley resident since 1984, taught for Columbus Public Schools for 14 years before earning her law degree from Capital University through night courses.

She later worked for the Ohio Department of Taxation as a supervisor.

These work experiences, and her current practice, have given her the administrative and legal skills needed to run the city.

"But I think the key ingredient is having the maturity to deal with people, and to have the patience to listen," Jones said.

The councilwoman noted that, while she can’t take credit for what has been accomplished in the two years she has served, some big items, such as a new pool, have been achieved in that time.

Jones was an early opponent of seeking a tax increase for a new police station, opting to use existing funds.

She said she is willing to make the budget cuts necessary to allow financing of the project.

"I believe taking a fresh look at the budget will make a huge difference," Jones said.

Jones would be the first woman mayor of Bexley, but she sees that as a side issue. "I’d like to think we’ve moved on."

Others circulating petitions to get on the November 6 ballot include Bill Minckler, the city’s technology director; William Harvey, a financial consultant and member of the Main Street Redevelopment Commission; Gene Weiss, an attorney and former Bexley school board member; and John Brennan, a Bexley City Council member from 1988 to 1995 and the city’s recreation director from 1973 to 1984.

Bexley residents Travis Irvine, Lawrence Binsky and Scott Weinblatt have also taken out petitions, according to Marlene Wirth at the Franklin County Board of Elections.

All are vying to succeed Mayor David Madison, who has chosen not to run for re-election after 32 years in office.

The flood of candidates to replace a long-standing mayor is not without precedent, according to City Attorney James Gross. He recalled that when William Schneider stepped aside after eight terms, there was a similar rush to the ballot, leading to the election of Kenneth McClure.

There is no provision for a run-off, and the winner simply needs to poll the largest number of votes, Gross said.

There are also five candidates for four open council seats, so far. Incumbents Mark Masser and Jeff McClelland are running for re-election, and Hanz Wasserburger, appointed to replace Helen Mac Murray, will be running for a full term. Former council member Jed Morison and resident Benjamin Kessler have also taken out petitions. Two-term Councilman John Rohyans  will not be running for re-election.

Candidates have until Aug. 8 to file their petitions.

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