Tuesday, October 19

Upper Arlington could elect their first out LGBTQ+ City Councilperson this November

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Like much of the Columbus metro area, Upper Arlington is growing fast, and the city is making major decisions that will affect new development for years to come. That’s why out local attorney Kathy Adams – who’s legal career has focused on construction projects in the state – is running for city council.

“This is the time for me to be on council, because all of these decisions are being made right now, and it’s important we get it right.”

Adams says her goal is to ensure there is representation for the new Upper Arlington in the city’s development plans – including the LGBTQ+ community. If elected, she will be Upper Arlington’s first out city councilmember, and to celebrate, she plans to invite LGBTQ+ students to her swearing in, to show them that “they have a seat at the table for our city politics.”

The Buckeye Flame spoke with Adams about her candidacy and her goals for office.

What made this the right moment for you to run for city council?
KA: A lot of changes are happening in Upper Arlington pretty quickly – commercial development, changes in the housing stock. I want to make sure there is representation for the new Upper Arlington as these decisions are being made. New families are moving in, and I want to make sure the businesses in our community reflect that – ensuring there are women-owned businesses, LGBTQ+-owned businesses, minority-owned businesses. I also want to make sure we’re using that lens on all city policies – from hiring to inclusive programming – so that everyone feels comfortable participating in all our community has to offer.

What past experiences do you feel have prepared you for this role?
I have been a lawyer for the state of Ohio for fifteen years. I work on large construction and development projects for my state clients, which is really relevant experience for the work I’ll be doing on council if elected.

What will your priorities be as a city councilmember?
Commercial development is happening quickly in our city, housing is becoming less and less accessible for different types of families, and so this is the time for me to be on council, because pretty soon it’ll be too late; major decisions are being made right now, and it’s important we get it right. I also think we are still forming our new identity as a city, and people feel disconnected from what is the big plan for Upper Arlington. What is our brand? What do we want Upper Arlington to look and feel like? People in the community are not clear on what is our brand and they want to have a voice at the table in forming that new identity for Upper Arlington as it develops. 

Why, in your view, is it important for people to vote in their local elections?
For a long time, I myself was focused a lot on national and state issues. I don’t think people realize how many decisions that most directly affect their daily lives occur at the city or local level. It’s the parks in your community, the sidewalks, the programs you take your kids to, the local businesses you visit. So many things in your daily life are decided at the city level.

If elected, you’ll be Upper Arlington’s first out LGBTQ+ city council member. What would this mean to you?
That would be so meaningful! In my work with Rainbow U.A., I’ve gotten to talk to a lot of students, and I know that representation matters. I came out way later in life because I didn’t have any LGBTQ+ role models growing up, and I certainly didn’t have any examples of anybody in a position of power or authority. So, my dream, if I win, is to invite a bunch of LGBTQ+ students to my swearing in ceremony, to be there with me in the municipal services building to see that they can achieve anything, and that they have a seat at the table for our city politics. 🔥

Ignite Action:

  • Learn more about Kathy Adams and her bid for Upper Arlington City Council by visiting her website or Facebook page.
  • Check ohvotes.org to make sure you are registered to vote and update your voter registration address. 

About Author

Peter Kusnic is a writer and editor based in Cleveland, OH.

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