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Mayor Coleman Will Not Seek A Fifth Term

Jesse Bethea Jesse Bethea Mayor Coleman Will Not Seek A Fifth Term
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Michael B. Coleman was tearful today as he announced that the next 13 months will be his last as mayor of Columbus. The longest-serving and first African-American mayor in Columbus history decided last week on his 60th birthday that he will not seek a fifth term when his current term expires in 2015.

“This is among the most difficult decisions I have ever made,” Coleman told a crowd of officials and luminaries in the Council Chamber of City Hall. “The city of Columbus has become a part of who I am. It is in my blood. I love the city of Columbus. I love the residents of Columbus. I love being mayor of Columbus. So I can barely say these words. I will not be running for a fifth term.”

Surrounded by his family, cabinet and staff, Coleman he explained why his time as mayor will come to an end after almost two decades. The mayor had planned on running for another term, and was in the process of preparing his fifth term agenda when, “something happened along the way; One week ago I turned 60 years old.”

“I feel great and I have a lot of energy and I have a whole lot of new ideas,” said Coleman. “But it’s time to venture to new frontiers, and if I’m going to do something new before I reach retirement age…I probably need to do it at the end of this term rather than five years from now.”

Coleman was not specific about what that “something new” might be, saying “while I am not certain what I’ll do next, there will be a next.” After his speech, Coleman told reporters he has not thought about what job he will hold next, denying that he’s been asked to run for US Senate and saying he “hasn’t even thought about” running against Senator Rob Portman in 2016.

The Mayor also refused to speculate on who might take his place, nor would he endorse anyone for the position, telling reporters, “Let the body get cold before we start talking about who’s next.”

Coleman said that his immediate political focus as his time in office comes to an end will be to make sure the city is prepared to host the Democratic National Convention if it is chosen over Philadelphia and New York, a task he believes will be easier without the distraction of a reelection campaign. At the same time, Coleman said he will continue working to improve the lives of Columbus residents.

“I have another 13 months left on my term,” said Coleman, “and I don’t intend to spend them looking through old photo albums.”

Coleman thanked his staff, cabinet and employees for their service to him and to the city. He expressed pride in his children, Kimberly, Justin and J.D., acknowledging that, “Having a mayor for a father is not an easy thing.” He also thanked his girlfriend Janelle Simmons and his friends for their support during his time in office.

Among those at the Mayor’s side during the announcement was Shannon Granville Hardin, a former member of Coleman’s staff who became the newest member of the Columbus City Council in October. Hardin said that while he felt a little sad at the news, he is happy and excited for the mayor he looks up to.

“I’m so appreciative of the work that he has done to make this city the best city in the nation for all of us,” said Hardin. “I’m just looking forward to the next chapter and being there for the ride.”

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