Seven candidates run for a seat on the Greater Hilltop Area Commission


By Dedra Cordle
Staff Writer

The Greater Hilltop Area Commission was unable to hold an election in 2022 due to an insufficient number of candidates who filed a petition to run for one of the four open seats on the local advisory board.

That will not be the case for 2023.

At its meeting on Sept. 5, the government and legislation committee announced that they have received more than five petitions from individuals who would like to sit on the commission for a three-year term.

“We do have a contested election this year,” said committee chair Leah Brudno,” and I am very excited about that.”

According to Brudno, there are seven individuals who will be vying for the four open seats.

They are:
•Nick Bates
•Jason Cornell
•Jennie Keplar
•Ricky Kitchen
•Keith Neal
•Terry Roofe
•Dean Smith

With the exception of the incumbent Keplar, all of the candidates will be new to the commission should they be elected by the community next month.

In an interview after the meeting, Brudno reiterated her excitement about the number of individuals who have chosen to run for a seat on the commission this year, especially since they were not able to hold an election last year due to the fact that only four candidates filed to run in 2022. The bylaws of the commission state that they can only hold an election if they receive five or more petitions from local residents who want to run for one of the four elected seats that open annually.

“What I love about having a contested election is that it allows our neighbors to get to know what the commission does because all of our candidates have to go out and do a bit of campaigning,” said Brudno. “They get to hear from the residents about their concerns, talk to them about what they would like to do, and hopefully those interactions will drum up interest in the commission and especially drum up interest in getting out to vote for these seats that serve as their voice to city council.”

The election will take place on Oct. 7 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at these polling locations:
•The Briggs Road Baptist Church, 3231 Briggs Road.
•The Columbus Metropolitan Library – Hilltop Branch, 511 S. Hague Avenue.
•The YMCA of Central Ohio – Hilltop Branch, 2879 Valleyview Drive.

Brudno said that everyone who is 18 years of age and older will be able to vote for the area commissioners, pending residence in the boundaries that the area commission serves. She added that residents do not need to be registered to vote as it is not an official ballot but a photo ID, a utility bill, or some other piece of information which states you live in the boundary area will be required to cast a vote.

After the polling locations close at 2 p.m., the results will be delivered to the Hilltop Branch where the commission will count the votes. Brudno said the public is welcome to come out during this process to see who won a seat on the commission. The tallying of the votes begins around 2:30 p.m.

The commission will not be able to host a candidate forum this year but bios and self-submitted candidate videos will be available in the coming days on the GHAC website ( and their Facebook page.

The current commissioners whose three-year term is expiring in 2023 are Brudno, Keplar, Josh Paxton and Victoria Klein. Only Keplar has chosen to run for reelection this year.

In addition to the four seats that are up for election, the commission will also have an open appointed seat. The commissioners will vote on the appointed seat in January, but the nominations will take place at the full commission meeting in December. Unlike elected seats, candidates do not have to live in the Greater Hilltop area, but they do have to own property, be employed in the community, run a business or be involved in a non-profit agency in the boundary area.

Brudno said the commission will be doing outreach for the appointed seat in the coming months.

In related news, the commission will be co-hosting a candidate forum with the League of Women Voters on Oct. 10 at 6:30 p.m. at the CML – Hilltop Branch. The commission has invited city council candidates, mayoral candidates, and school board candidates to the forum. Brudno encouraged residents to attend so they can ask questions of those seeking council, mayoral, and school board seats and learn more about those races.


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