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Matt Habash To Resign Columbus City Council

Columbus City Council President Matt Habash announced Monday that he will end his 14-year tenure on the council next month.

Earlier this fall Habash refused to say if he would run for reelection. He's served on the council since 1993, and has been president for the past 7 years. There was tension between Habash and other council members this past summer involving former chief of staff Melinda Swann. But two personal milestones, one involving his Army Ranger son, Habash says, caused him to make his decision.

"I turned 50 and Justin spent a year in Iraq and that to me made me really think about what did I want to spend my time on. And it's become real clear to me here at the food bank that we need a lot more space here at the food bank for the work that we're doing."

Habash says he'll lead a capital campaign to expand the work of the Mid Ohio Food Bank which he directs. He says he'll also continue to work on other social service issues that have been focal points during his time on the city council.

"The issue of hunger, poverty, the issue of health care. I've been real involved over the health care initiative over the past 18 months trying to redefine access to health care in this country. 42 million Americans don't have access to healthcare - it was 32 [million] not too long ago. And to me that's a fundamental tie to the issue of hunger."

Habash is working with a group called the Affordable and Sustainable Health Care Project. He believes that a coalition of local efforts can do what the Clinton administration could not. He says he thinks that caps over Interstates 70 and 71 are goals within reach. He's been an advocate for developing a high-tech 315 Corridor because of its future social impact.

"It's the reason I got so interested in the Corridor project because it's a job generating process."

Habash's son leaves the Army in April and his daughter is engaged to be married. His wife, he says, may have more immediate plans.

"I think my wife already has a honey-do list to get ready for Christmas because I haven't been a whole lot of help lately."