Athens City Council at-large Independent candidate Chris Monday has always been interested in art.

“I am more into like making artistic projects,” he said. “I am a comic artist/musician. I like to make videos sometimes.”

 On a recent Sunday afternoon, the candidate made a campaign video, alongside local filmmaker Chris Croft in the upstairs of Jackie O’s Taproom on Campbell Street in Athens.

Surrounded by a few cubicles, windows and tables with the brewery’s selection of craft beers sitting on top of them, Monday and Croft moved a backdrop into place; in the process, Monday mentioned his perplexing plan for the video. 

“I’m making a campaign video that’s really going to have nothing to do with my campaign. It’s kind of funny,” he said.

Monday was born in Wapakoneta, Ohio, a city located just south of Lima, and he grew up in, what he called, a “conservative Christian family in a very conservative area.” As he grew older, however, his political and religious teachings no longer made sense and he didn’t know what to think of those beliefs.

“I was raised to believe that when you grow up, you get a job, get married and you have kids,” he said. “It’s hard for me to understand, so living in a place like Athens where everyone has more freedom, it’s just nice.”

Monday said his political career did not begin quite so political, despite his deep interest in politics.

In 2016 he noticed a large spike in bed bugs in Athens, which led him to come up with an idea to resolve the problem.

“It’s expensive to get rid of bed bugs. I was thinking that seems like something in the interest of all society … it would make sense to have that be a thing that is taken care of by some kind of social program,” Monday said.

Another inspiration for him to get involved in local politics was dog poop.

His plan to mitigate excessive dog feces found on public grounds involves placing little bag dispensers throughout neighborhoods, which he first saw used in Columbus’ German Village.

Recently, however, bed bugs and dog poop have disappeared into the shadows of Monday’s campaign. The candidate instead now prefers to focus on economic inequality, poverty and housing.

“When people are working 40 to 60 hours a week and giving like half to three-quarters of their income to their landlords, that’s not acceptable,” Monday said. “I am not trying to make rich people poor, but I am trying to make poor people not suffer. I know I can’t wave a wand from the City Council bench and make things happen, but if I get into a position like that, I can have a larger voice and organize people.”

One of Monday’s biggest campaign points is local businesses Uptown and the expensive rent many have to pay, given rent in that part of town can range from $2000 to $3000 per month, he said.

“Month after month (the landlords) are collecting no rent instead of lowering their rates and making a little money,” he said. “Lower the rent, rent it out, collect some money, help somebody new create a business.”

Monday said that he has noticed a change in housing prices since he moved here. 

“I just want to make Athens livable for everybody. Athens is awesome, and I think that from the rich to the poor, (people) deserve to enjoy all the fine aspects of the city,” he said.

He believes everyone should live free and that it is important to not hurt other people.

One of the mottos he likes to live by is from late stand-up comedian Bill Hicks, who once said, “Do whatever you want as long as it doesn’t infringe on the rights of others.”

Even if he doesn’t win, Monday said he hopes to get the community more involved in local politics and City Council meetings.

“It is a cool thing to do on Monday nights, go out there at seven o’clock, check it out, go out to eat afterwards … I plan to try to get people more engaged,” Monday said.

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