Three seek election for 2 Oakwood City Council seats

Three candidates are seeking two Oakwood City Council seats this fall with one vying for re-election and two others – including an appointed incumbent – on voters’ ballots for the first time. FILE
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Three candidates are seeking two Oakwood City Council seats this fall with one vying for re-election and two others – including an appointed incumbent – on voters’ ballots for the first time. FILE

Credit: FILE

Credit: FILE

OAKWOOD — Three candidates are seeking two Oakwood City Council seats this fall with one vying for re-election and two others — including an appointed incumbent — on voters’ ballots for the first time.

Brandy Mariani, Rob Stephens and Leigh Turben are seeking four-year terms that come with a salary of $2,800 a year, city records show.

Mariani has never sought elected office. Turben was appointed in February to the council seat Chris Epley resigned from after he won election as judge on the Second District Court of Appeals.

She was chosen by council among 14 applicants and had the option of seeking these seats or running to fill Epley’s unexpired term, according to the city.

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Three-term Councilwoman Anne Shank Hilton is running unopposed for the unexpired term, according to the Montgomery County Board of Elections.

Stephens is a three-term incumbent first elected in 2009, when he won most votes of three candidates seeking two seats.

The following, in alphabetical order, are brief profiles on the three candidates.

Brandy Mariani FILE
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Brandy Mariani FILE

Credit: FILE

Credit: FILE

•Mariani, 36, is operations manager at Sinclair Community College’s Centerville campus.

She has associate’s degrees in liberal arts and business administration from Sinclair, a bachelor’s in financial management from Franklin University and an MBA from Western Governors University.

Mariani said some of her top priorities include Oakwood becoming more inclusive and more self-sustainable.

“I want to see Oakwood continue to grow its partnerships with surrounding communities and to help our community lower its carbon footprint,” she said. “Being sustainable does not mean overhauling our entire way of life; it is small changes over time that also make a difference.”

Mariani said her finance experience would be an asset to the city. She also said collaboration is needed to find “viable before and after-school care solutions” for residents, especially working families with school-age children.

Rob Stephens FILE
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Rob Stephens FILE

Credit: FILE

Credit: FILE

•Stephens, 53, is an Oakwood High School graduate who earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Wittenberg University. He works at Stephens Insurance Agency.

Stephens said the most important issues facing the city are increasing costs of “materials and labor for projects within the city due to our older infrastructure” and improving “our knowledge and programs regarding the local mental health crisis.”

He said the city should find optional purchasing sites to keep costs down and “increase our education of our public safety officers on how to deal with individuals who may be having a mental health situation.”

Stephens said Oakwood can provide better services to residents by completing its new recycling center, continuing to train safety officers on mental health education and awareness, and “maintain the same sound fiscal judgment when deciding on projects for our city’s infrastructure.”

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•Turben, 73, has a bachelor’s degree from Pennsylvania State University and is a retired corporate banker who has lived in Oakwood for 31 years.

She has served on the Oakwood Historical Society Board of Directors and the Wright Memorial Public Library Advisory Council.

Turben said Oakwood needs to “preserve its essential culture” of citizen involvement.

“In today’s polarized political environment, every citizen must feel that their voice is heard, and their beliefs are respected and welcomed,” Turben said.

Maintaining city services while controlling costs and minimizing taxes are priorities, as is enhancing aging infrastructure, she said.

The city should “weigh costs and benefits associated with each service, act fiscally responsible and within budget,” Turben said. “I believe that a sound financial budget is the backbone of a city’s growth and well-being.”

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