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University student looks to fill city council seat

The continuance of the Redfern political legacy at the University has been postponed for a couple of weeks.

Jacob Redfern, a junior and the nephew of Chris Redfern, chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party, was nominated by the Democrats of Bowling Green City Council to fill the vacant First Ward seat. The seat was held until July 31 when Gordy Heminger’s resignation became official.

The council voted on Redfern’s appointment Monday night but did not name him First Ward representative, as the vote was 3-2, and a majority of four votes is required to land the position.

Members voted according to their parties, with Republicans Mike Frost and Robert McOmber voting for Mark Hollenbaugh and Democrats Megan Newlove, John Zanfardino and Larry Sorrells voting for Redfern. Democrat Terry Dunn was absent, but is expected to attend the next meeting on August 17, when the vote will again be taken.

‘I would assume [Redfern will] be appointed at the next meeting,’ Newlove said.

Redfern’s uncle, Chris, who is also a University alumnus, said he encouraged his nephew to attend the University and stay active in politics on campus.

‘Jacob’s a good kid,’ Chris said. ‘I think Jacob will be a hard worker for the people of his ward and the people of the city of Bowling Green.’

Redfern is already working hard for the First Ward. He said he’s been going door-to-door and listening to the community’s concerns since the beginning of the summer, preparing to run in the general election for the First Ward seat in November.

Bowling Green’s First Ward includes those who live north of Wooster Street, east of Main Street and all campus residents except for those in Kreischer and Harshman.

‘It’s my job to represent the wishes of the community,’ Redfern said. ‘I want to be able to unite the residents and the students of this community and have them work together to make a better future.’

Jacob said although he hopes to follow in his uncle’s footsteps, Chris wasn’t really involved in his decision to run for city council.

‘My family has always been politically involved and politically active,’ Redfern said. ‘It was more my peers here at Bowling Green and my friends who encouraged me ‘hellip; to run. ‘hellip; [Chris] wasn’t really involved in the decision-making process at all.’

Jacob said Michael Zickar, chair of the Wood County Democratic Party and faculty advisor for the College Democrats, also encouraged him to run for the First Ward seat in the November election.

‘I always found Jacob to be somebody who was very thoughtful ‘hellip; somebody who would be good to help bridge the community and the University,’ Zickar said. He said he sat down with Jacob in February to talk about what was involved in running for council.

Although Redfern said Chris didn’t have much influence on his decision to run for city council, he has followed his uncle’s lead in other ways. Both Redferns have been active in campus politics and involved with the College Democrats, and Redfern plans to attain a master’s degree from the University, just as his uncle did in 1999.””

‘Chris is a great uncle. He’s always been someone who I’ve looked up to to see how politics should work,’ Redfern said. ‘Hopefully one day I’ll be able to emulate his success.’

Redfern may achieve political success August 17, when he is expected to be appointed to Heminger’s seat, and again in November if he defeats Republican Mark Hollenbaugh for First Ward representative.”

‘I hope that if nothing else, I can gain a better understanding of people and what they want from their government,’ Redfern said. ‘It’s very easy to be on the outside of government and to be constantly criticizing everything the government does. … It’s going to be a completely new experience for me to be on the inside of government.’

Another University student, Rob Emmelhainz, is also running for city council in November. He is running as an Independent for the Second Ward seat.

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