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New Councilmember Jaiza Page Wants to Impact Columbus Neighborhoods

Jesse Bethea Jesse Bethea New Councilmember Jaiza Page Wants to Impact Columbus NeighborhoodsPhoto by Walker Evans.
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On January 20, Jaiza Page was sworn in as the newest Columbus City Councilmember, replacing Hearcel Craig, who was elected to the Ohio House of Representatives in November.

“It’s been an absolutely exciting experience, just learning all that I can. I am thrilled and just ready to go,” said Page shortly after her swearing-in ceremony.

Prior to her appointment to Council, Page worked in the office of City Attorney Richard Pfeiffer in the Zone Initiative, a specialized unit targeting quality-of-life issues in Columbus neighborhoods. Page said that she plans to use some of her skills from the legal world in her new role on Council, particularly the ability to listen to people and be understanding of their concerns.

“A lot of the time, as lawyers, we’re problem-solvers, and we have to be able to analyze, think about the pros and cons of a certain decision and then be able to make a decision and feel comfortable in that decision,” said Page. “I think that I will be able to translate those skills into my position as a councilmember.”

Page grew up in Linden, and wrote in the application essay she submitted to Council that it was while living there that she decided she wanted to go into the legal profession.

“My notion of attorneys back then was that they help people, especially kids,” wrote Page. “From that point forward, my mind was set on becoming an attorney, even though some detractors thought I was too quiet to be an attorney and, besides, they said, nobody from my neighborhood ever grows up to be an attorney.”

Working with Zone Initiative, Page was able to help litigate against urban blight issues that often plague the overlooked neighborhoods of the city, from dangerous, vacant buildings to known crime magnets. Page said Columbus should continue with the programs already in place to “identify houses in the neighborhoods that need to be demolished or eventually acquired by the city,” as well as make sure those programs receive the funding they need.

“I think that we have vibrant neighborhoods, we have residents who love where they live who are very interested and concerned with quality of life issues, may that be vacant houses, issues with liquor establishments, places that there may be drug houses, and just the cleanliness,” said Page. “Each neighborhood has its own issues that we may need to look at and work with, but overall, like I said, we have great neighborhoods and great people live in these houses.”

In her application essay, Page also wrote about her interest in putting additional focus on “the scourge of domestic violence, stalking, and human trafficking, which is becoming a growing concern not only in Columbus but throughout the state and across the nation.”

Page said that the city as a whole could work more closely with the various agencies that combat human trafficking in Ohio and she would be interested in seeing what Council could do from a legislative standpoint to address the problem.

During her time on City Council, Page said her primary objective will be to have a positive impact Columbus’ neighborhoods.

“I say that because I think our neighborhoods and our people are what make our city,” said Page, adding that she hopes to “continue to work with the individuals, work with the various neighborhoods to build them up, help them to sustain the vibrancy, and also connecting them to good employment opportunities, to the businesses within the city, and just maintain a healthy city overall.”

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