Home Politics Elections OPINION: Meet Beth Clodfelter, the new Democrat running for Athens City Council

OPINION: Meet Beth Clodfelter, the new Democrat running for Athens City Council

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Athens City Council. Photo by Zachary Richards

Opinion writer Maddie Kramer, a junior studying political science, says that Beth Clodfelter has the experience needed to be an ideal member of Athens City Council.

While many are focused on national politics with the impending 2020 primaries and the presidential election, local Athens politicians are gearing up for an election this November. One of these important local elections is that of Athens City Council. There are three at-large seats on the ballot this November, with the three incumbents running against three challengers. 

Incumbent Democrats Sarah Grace and Pete Kotses are running for reelection as well as Independent incumbent Pat McGee. The challengers for their at-large seats include Socialist Ellie Hamrick, Independent Chris Monday and Democrat Beth Clodfelter.

Clodfelter may be new to local politics, but she is not new to Athens. She was born here, then moved to Indiana, where she grew up. Clodfelter returned to Athens to work for Ohio University, helping students receive Fulbright Scholarships. She now works with the Southeast Ohio Public Energy Council and is an extremely active part of the Athens community.

Clodfelter is a board member and active in a variety of local organizations, including the Athens Hocking Recycling Center and the Appalachian Peace and Justice Network. She is also the co-founder of the Athens Time Exchange. It is evident that Clodfelter is an active member of the Athens community and cares deeply about the people who live here. Her experience makes her stand out from the others who are running for the at-large seats on City Council and make her a very intriguing candidate.

Clodfelter’s platform is catchy, and she uses alliteration wisely, as she stresses “safety, sustainability, stewardship.” These three words incorporate the issues that are important to her, which she breaks down into individual action items on her website. 

Regarding safety, Clodfelter echoes the call of many students, which is to improve lighting around Athens. She also calls to fix the sidewalks around Athens, expressing concern for those with mobility issues, in wheelchairs or pushing strollers and their ability to operate around Athens on the current sidewalks. 

Clodfelter also prioritizes fixing the “dangerous area” in the Hocking River near White’s Mill. She states on her website that she knows it will be a challenge, but she “likes challenges.” This ambition is something that is important in local government, and her passion for this area shows through her concern for public safety.

Preserving the environment and natural resources are important things to Clodfelter. In discussing sustainability, she emphasizes the importance of using native plants when landscaping around Athens. She claims this will help the local populations of butterflies, bees and birds. Clodfelter also calls for more trees on public land. Something that is important regarding both the environment and protecting natural resources is Clodfelter’s proposal for more solar panels on public and city buildings, including the new school buildings. 

Clodfelter’s last topic on her platform is being a steward to the community. She states that she will “not hesitate to ask tough questions” when it comes to proposals regarding public resources. She echoes her previous sentiments of working to preserve the parks and public lands as well as saving the Athens citizens money when possible. 

Clodfelter has been endorsed by Planned Parenthood and the Ohio chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. These are big and key endorsements, showing that these groups recognize her hard work as a community member and hopefully a future politician. Getting an endorsement from an organization such as Planned Parenthood is important for democrats, as protecting Planned Parenthood and access to reproductive health is a big part of the Democrat platform. 

Clodfelter has a passion for this community and displays an ambitious personality that would lead to positive change for Athens. Her wide range of experience as a member of a myriad of local organizations and boards gives her important and crucial insight for an elected official. She told The Athens NEWS in January while she was collecting signatures for her petition to get on the ballot that she was “ready to contribute in an even bigger way.” 

Now, nine months later, she is almost at the finish line. Clodfelter would be a great addition to the Athens City Council, bringing new ideas and perspectives. Her platform points regarding sustainability are important for an Appalachian small town with so much natural beauty and resources. Clodfelter has made herself an important part of this community and would do an excellent job representing all of Athens on the City Council. 

Please note that these views and opinions do not reflect those of The New Political.

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