© 2021 WOSU Public Media
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Columbus City Council's Newly Appointed Members Discuss Their Plans

The Columbus City Council's two new appointed members have never run for office before. But they have definite ideas on how they'll help move the city forward.

On Monday the Columbus City Council filled vacancies left by the departures of Mike Mentel and Charleta Tavares. One of the new appointees is Zach Klein, a lawyer who's worked in the state attorney general's office. He also spent a year working for Vice President Joe Biden. That range of experience, Klein says, makes him well suited to serve the citizens of Columbus

"I'm a young professional lawyer," Klein says. "I've also worked at the national and state levels of government so I've had an inside perspective at both of those levels of government and I'm looking forward to using those experiences and learning from those experiences in helping the city."

The council's committee appointments have not been made yet, but Klein says he has interests in the following areas:

"I'm interested in economic development. And I'm interested in public safety and examining government efficiency," Klein says.

Those concerns are shared by the other new appointee, Michelle Mills. Mills has a degree in social work and is president of St. Stephens Community House which helps the disadvantaged. Mills says her St. Stephens experience will be vital in her role on the council.

"I think my experiences listening to residents and feeling responsible as a steward of community resources and that they're able to have a good quality of life is one of those major skills that I have at St. Stephens that I'll bring to my role as a council member," Mills says. "And so advocating on behalf of residents and making sure that resources are protected; that government is smart and responsible to citizens, I think that's something I'll bring to my role as a council member."

Mills says she'll work to serve all the citizens of Columbus.

"All areas that make sure that all individuals no matter age, size, class, can engage and be included in the process of government," Mills says. "And also make sure that they have a safe place to live an opportunity to have a healthy life, all of that is very important to me. So safety and health are options for all members in the city of Columbus is extremely important to me."

Both Zach Klein and Michelle Mills say they're enthusiastic about their positions on the city council.

"I'm grateful for the trust and support that the council members gave me and voting for me for one of the vacancies," Klein says. "And I'm eager to work with them and I'm excited to work with them and the City of Columbus and the members of the community and continuing down the path of success that the city has been sustaining."

"I am very grateful for the confidence that my colleagues, the other members of the caucus have put in me to give me the appointment," Mills says. "And I am very happy to be in this role expanding the work of representing the citizens of Columbus as I've done in my role at St. Stephens Community House."