COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Columbus City Council announced Wednesday the eight finalists vying for a seat that will be vacated by Elizabeth Brown, the council’s president pro tempore recently tapped to lead the YWCA Columbus

Among them are candidates with backgrounds in government, politics, public policy, and social work. The eight finalists, according to their resumes, include:

  • Charity Martin-King, who works as the director of social change within Ohio State University’s Office of Student life.
  • Densil Porteous, the current executive director and chief executive officer of LGBTQ organization Stonewall Columbus.
  • Eli Bohnert, a campaign manager for Rep. Mary Lightbody (D-Westerville) who also serves on the community advisory committee for the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission and as a commissioner on the West Scioto Area Commission.
  • Ilhan Dahir, who works in public policy, currently as a researcher for the Henry L. Stimson Center in Washington D.C.
  • Kelly Lombardo-Matthews, a longtime teacher and Italian program director who now works as the digital marketing manager at LifeCare Alliance.
  • Lucy Gettman, who has worked in federal and state government in a variety of roles and has also taught classes at American University and Ohio State University.
  • Mitchell J. Brown, a former councilmember who has also served as the city’s director of public safety and the state’s lottery commission.
  • Olubunmi Adekanbi, a program manager for an adoption agency in Toledo who has previously worked with foster and adoption programs as well as other youth organizations.

The council is scheduled to meet after the start of the new year — on Jan. 3 — for a public hearing about the finalists being considered. Members will then vote on the appointment during their Jan. 9 meeting.

Four of seven sitting Columbus City Council members got their start on the governing body after being appointed. With Brown leaving, that number will go to five, at least through the November 2023 election.

Council President Shannon Hardin has said he wants other changes to influence decision-making on the council’s newest member. “My top priority is finding a candidate that will serve as an experienced caretaker and not as a candidate seeking to run in 2023,” Hardin said in a Wednesday press release. 

In 2023, Columbus City Council will grow by two members — to nine — as it also shifts from an entirely at-large body to a hybrid body, where candidates are required to live in the districts they are seeking election to. All city voters will vote on the whole slate of candidates, rather than just in the election for their ward.