Author: Shannon G. Hardin, Columbus City Council President
Employer: The City of Columbus
“Stewardship doesn't occur in a vacuum. Being an impactful steward comes with the incessant imperative to partner.”
I joke that my public service can be viewed as selfish. I have a big family that stretches across town. Most of my family is working class. They live in Southfield, King Lincoln, Driving Park, and other neighborhoods which for years existed without clear avenues for upward mobility. My nephew, Christian, will grow up black in Southfield. My work as a steward for this city is to ensure he grows up in a community that looks at him with love and admiration rather than fear. That stewardship means pushing Columbus to become a place where race and zip code don't determine the fate of our young folks. There is no single policy lever to address all of the environmental stressors which pile onto our young people's shoulders. Affordable housing, access to healthcare, good-paying jobs, meaningful education, & safe streets form the ladder rungs to the middle class. I want the best for my nephew and, I believe, if we flatten obstacles for folks like him (i.e. boys and young men of color), we lift all of Columbus.
Now the "we" I mentioned in that previous paragraph wasn't the royal we nor was it meant to refer only to Columbus City Council. The aforementioned "we" refers to the Columbus community. Stewardship doesn't occur in a vacuum. Being an impactful steward comes with the incessant imperative to partner. No matter what any strong mayor tells you, great cities are built through collective stewardship. Collective stewardship means recognizing that the success of your family is tied to the success of families across Columbus. Collective stewardship is rooted in shared priorities and a desire to see every neighborhood in Columbus thrive.
As a young elected leader, my eyes are set on Columbus. I'm not seeking to serve anywhere other than right here. I'm comfortable knowing that my stewardship and focus will stay laser-focused on the plight of folks struggling in Columbus. My commitment is and will continue to be the welfare of this city. My commitment is to my family and to families across our city. I don't have all the answers. But with good partners, I'm confident that all of us can lead Columbus into an even brighter future.