Columbus had a historic swearing in ceremony on New Year’s morning. Not only are Democrats taking control of the city council for the first time since the early 80s, but Columbus has its first African American council member.
A standing-room only crowd filled the large Cal Brand meeting room at Columbus City Hall yesterday morning for the ceremony.
African-American and Democrat Jerone Wood was sworn in after his 1-vote margin of victory in Council District 1, which covers the East Columbus neighborhoods and part of downtown.
Wood and at-large councilwoman Grace Kestler took over seats formerly held by Republicans to give control of the council to the Democrats.
Republican Dave Bush was sworn in for his first full term representing District 3.
Democrat Elaine Hilber was sworn in for her second term representing Council District 2
Democrat Tom Dell was also sworn in for a second term to an at-large seat on the council.
Republican Tim Shuffett is returning to the council for his third term.
Columbus Mayor Jim Lienhoop and Clerk-Treasurer Luann Welmer were also sworn in and Lienhoop swore in the city’s department heads.
Lienhoop said that despite the party switch, he expected the new council would continue to work for the betterment of Columbus.
Lienhoop looked back at the accomplishments of the last four years.
Also sworn in yesterday were Democratic council member Tom Dell and Republican Tim Shuffett. Republican Frank Miller was sworn in last month because he was unavailable yesterday.