University student runs for city council seat

Senior Rob Emmelhainz always had a passion for community politics, even from a young age. Watching his father, who worked as a pastor, interact with the neighborhood in a beneficial way impacted him greatly. ‘He was always willing to listen to anyone in the community,’ Emmelhainz said. ‘I wanted to see that in myself.’ In an effort to combine both his love for politics and small-town communities, Emmelhainz decided in early April that he wanted to run for a position on Bowling Green’s City Council representing the 2nd Ward. However, because the deadline for political party filing set by the Wood County Board of Elections had passed, Emmelhainz was required to sign as an independent by 4 p.m. on Monday, May 4. In order to be included on the November ballot, Board of Elections Director Terry Burton said Emmelhainz needed to collect 81 signatures from voters in the ward. However, with the help of six actively supportive community members, Emmelhainz was able to far surpass the quota and collect 191 to 200 signatures. ‘I encourage people, especially students, to support their own,’ Dave Mauer, a Bowling Green resident who collected signatures for Emmelhainz, said. ‘It’s very seldom a student is on [city council] and there should be one on there to voice student concerns.’ If Emmelhainz is voted onto the council come November, he has a number of goals he wants to achieve as part of the city government. First and foremost, Emmelhainz said he wants to see better representation for all occupants of the 2nd Ward, which covers properties east of Main Street and south of Clough Street. ‘The heart of it is, I’m not running just as a student,’ he said. ‘A majority of my time, I won’t be a student [because I’m graduating in December]. It’s just really important that everyone is represented.” Emmelhainz also hopes to create more respect between student and non-student members of the community by creating a conflict resolution board which could effectively deal with resident concerns. By implementing a committee that could work through issues before they are brought to council members, conflicts could be handled quickly and easily, Emmelhainz said. And though he said the current representative for the 2nd Ward, John Zanfardino, does a decent job communicating with his constituencies, Emmelhainz thinks he could do better. ‘The other candidates [running for this position] are not students,’ he said. ‘Over the last several decades, students haven’t been represented in Ward 2 as well as non-students, and I plan on changing that.’ By constantly being available to all constituents through e-mail and his cell phone, Emmelhainz hopes residents will always feel comfortable contacting him at any time of day. ‘Representing people at all times is the responsibility of public officials,’ he said. ‘Serving on city council is one of the best ways to ensure when conflicts arise with the community, I can make sure they are resolved.’ ‘