State representative Crawley chosen by Democrats for an unfinished county commissioner term

Democratic State Representative Erica Crawley will be Franklin County’s next commissioner, edging out Columbus City Council Chair Pro Tem Elizabeth Brown on Thursday in a close vote by the Franklin County Democratic Party Central Committee.

The final tally was 63-54.

Crawley will replace Dawn Tyler Lee, who has been appointed by Commissioners John O’Grady and Kevin Boyce on an interim basis following the resignation last month of Commissioner Marilyn Brown. Tyler Lee has said she is not interested in continuing the seat beyond her acting appointment.

“I was born and raised in Youngstown, Ohio, so I come from a hard-working family. Nothing was given to us, nothing was given to me. I had to work hard for everything I did. ‘ve had … “said Crawley. “I didn’t take anything for granted, coming here I knew I had to work hard and win every vote… I was campaigning against City Councilor Brown, who is phenomenal and did a really good job on City Council.”

The nomination process for vacant commissioner positions is outlined in state law, with elected members of party central committees making the final selection.

A total of 120 of the current 144 members of the Franklin County Democratic Party Central Committee were in attendance for the vote on Thursday. The winning candidate needed 61 votes, or 50% plus one.

In his comments ahead of Thursday’s vote, Brown touted his record in Columbus City Council and vowed to push to build a world-class transit system, high-quality and affordable child care. and reforms to prevent evictions, especially for mothers and children, among other priorities if elected county commissioner.

“The question is a big one as to who will be the next Franklin County commissioner,” Brown said. “I’m in this race because I think we can do great things in Franklin County… I have bold ideas for our future as Franklin County Democrats.”

Crawley touted his own record in the state legislature and also expressed support for improving affordable housing, maternal and child health and other initiatives.

“If you looked at me in the Statehouse, I was a coalition builder,” she said. “I was able to work across party lines to pass meaningful legislation, whether it was protecting the health of people with disabilities or mothers and children, or reducing our plastic waste by having filling stations for bottles of water in each school building… “

Columbus Pro City Council Chairman Tem Elizabeth Brown, left, congratulates State Representative Erica Crawley on her election by the Franklin County Democratic Party Central Committee to an unfinished term on the Council of Commissioners of the county.

Brown congratulated Crawley after the final vote.

“There is a lot of important work to be done in the county and the city,” she said. “I’m looking to partner on some really big things, like universal child care, affordable housing, and a real transit system for residents across our city. “

Crawley separately said she wished Brown the best of luck and that she “would continue to do the great job she does on city council, making a difference for the city of Columbus.”

More than a dozen people were making calls and expressing interest in the commissioner seat backstage after Commissioner Brown, citing family health concerns, announced her retirement.

After:Franklin County Commissioner Marilyn Brown resigns citing family health concerns

Five people attended a Franklin County Democratic Party Candidates Forum earlier this month for the seat review: Brown, Crawley, Franklin County Clerk Maryellen O’Shaughnessy; Mike Schadek, former Upper Arlington city councilor and current deputy director of intergovernmental affairs for the city of Columbus; and Beryl Anderson, former Gahanna city councilor and assistant secretary of state.

Both Commissioners O’Grady and Boyce endorsed Crawley earlier in the week.

As of Thursday night, only two candidates remained in contention, with nominations at the meeting for Crawley and Brown.

“I think Erica Crawley is going to be a great county commissioner and will really help our work against poverty and the elimination of racism,” Boyce said. “Her work in the state legislature, as a single mother and veteran, is very complementary to the work we do.”

“We had two wonderful candidates,” said O’Grady. “Erica is going to be a great county commissioner, and Liz Brown will be a fantastic office holder in this party for a long time to come. She is going to do wonderful things for the Democratic Party locally, at the state level and quite possibly at the federal level for a long, long time to come. “

Crawley, who is a senior member of the Ohio House finance committee and involved in final work on the state’s biennial budget, said she was ready to move to the building at any time. county administration. No date had yet been set Thursday evening for her to be sworn in as commissioner.

“We are already ready to enter the Conference committee, we know which amendments we are going to oppose and what we are going to propose, we know what the concerns are,” she said. “If I can keep working on this while we finish, I’m happy. But there are other people who are ready to take my place and finish the work I have already started.”

Crawley will serve the final 18 months of Brown’s tenure and will have to run in the primary and general election next year for another four-year term.

She won’t be alone. Republican Luis Gil, who ran unsuccessfully against O’Grady in the 2020 general election, told The Dispatch on Thursday that he plans to run for Franklin County commissioner in 2022.

Democrats have controlled the council of county commissioners for too long, he said.

“If they run on their record, I have an easier way to get to the position,” said Gil. “… We have to reverse what they have been doing for 15 years, with nothing to show. Look at Franklin County, look at the city of Columbus, they’re in ruins.

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