The Columbus City Council has a new face joining them this year. Michael Stinziano, an Ohio State alumnus, was elected to the council in November and sworn in Jan. 1. Out of the seven council members, five of them have been elected in the past two years.
Stinziano has been an active part of the council for only the past few weeks, but the councilman said he is already reaching out to the community and trying to make positive changes for the people of Columbus.
“There is a commitment with this group to tackle and recognize the transition ahead and to address key issues like poverty and transportation,” Stinziano said. “Collectively we are ready to get to work.”
Before he was elected to city council, Stinziano had legislative experience serving as a state representative for the 18th District, which includes several Columbus neighborhoods, including the university community that encompasses OSU.
“I worked with Michael on a few projects while he was a representative of OSU,” said Mike Lakomy, a third-year in business and president of the OSU College Democrats. “He has always been super helpful to the OSU community.”
Stinziano is a graduate of OSU’s Moritz College of Law and a Columbus native. After working in politics in Washington D.C., Stinziano decided to come back home to Columbus.
“I was attracted to city council because I would have the opportunity to represent and help more people,” Stinziano said. “My passion is helping people and working with them on solutions that government can help implement.”
Stinziano has joined multiple committees, including the technology and the judiciary and court-administration committees. He also serves as chairman of the council’s public utilities committee, where he is tackling public transportation.
“He is working on a lot of cool things,” Lakomy said. “The things he has done, the list is really long.”
Just last week the council updated the legislation pertaining to ride sharing and Uber.
“A lot of young people are interested in what we’re doing about transportation. We just updated Uber legislation, and we’re going to address other issues that young people are interested in,” Stinziano said.
Young people have some of the worst voter turnout and participation in government, but Stinziano said he encourages young people to get involved with politics and to bring their ideas and issues to the city government.
“Get to know us. If there is a problem you see, talk to us, we want to find ways to help,” Stinziano said. “We know everyone is busy, but don’t underestimate the important role local government plays, and don’t hesitate to reach out to us, even before an issue.”