Home City Meet Arian Smedley, a candidate for Athens City Council

Meet Arian Smedley, a candidate for Athens City Council

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Arian Smedley served on the Athens city council in 2017 by appointment, but she lost her campaign to keep her seat later that year. Now, she is running for a different position within the council.

Arian Smedley hopes to get back on the Athens City Council by running in the only contested city council race of the May primary election.

Smedley is now running for the position of First Ward Representative, which would make her the representative of the west side of Athens if elected.

Smedley initially served on city council during the summer of 2017, when she was appointed to fill a vacant seat left by former at-large member Jennifer Cochran. She campaigned for an at-large seat later in 2017 but lost.

Smedley lives on the west side of Athens with her husband and eight-year-old son. She first moved to Athens when she was eight years old. Smedley said she cares about and wants to help the Athens community.

“All of my upbringing has been in Athens,” Smedley said. “After college, my first job took us out of state for about four years. So then, after we had my son, we decided to move back. We chose to settle here to raise our family.”

Smedley studied journalism and Spanish at Ohio University. Seven years after graduating, she switched her career from journalism to public service.

“You live in a town long enough and you start to learn about the trials and the issues that a community faces,” she said. “I just had been drawn to finding a way to, instead of documenting the issues and the challenges that a community faces, serving them and working through those challenges.”

Kathy Hecht, the current Athens city auditor, represented the first ward 18 years ago. Hecht said she has known Smedley since the candidate was in elementary school.

“Arian was in school with my son down at West Elementary School,” Hecht said. “She and my son graduated together from Athens High School. They went all through Athens schools and they were always friends.”

According to Hecht, she and Smedley first worked together over three years ago on a committee for Athens Area Stand Down, a charity event for homeless veterans in Athens. Smedley later left her position as chair of the committee due to time conflicts with her job at the time, but Hecht said that Smedley is still active with the group.

Hecht said she has gone door-to-door with Smedley to help her get signatures for her campaign. She also said that while she thinks Samantha Miller, Smedley’s opponent, is a nice young woman, she believes Arian has more maturity and experience to draw from.

“I think it’s really interesting that she grew up here, then moved away, and then came back,” Hecht said. “I think that gives her a really good perspective on the west side, because she lived there so long, knowing what it was like 20 years ago and what it is like now.”

Smedley currently works as the assistant superintendent of the Athens County Board of Developmental Disabilities. Kevin Davis, the superintendent, said Smedley was first hired as an executive assistant to the assistant superintendent before becoming the assistant superintendent in the summer of 2018.

“She’s been in it for about 10 months, I would say,” Davis said. “She’s great — she represents us well. She has a strong desire to learn and to constantly improve. I think people with developmental disabilities in Athens County couldn’t be any more fortunate than to have Arian representing them and their interests.”

The Athens primary election will be held on May 7. Smedley said that if she loses, she will continue to serve the Athens community and its interests.

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