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People unload ballots from a box truck at the Athens Board of Elections on November 7, 2017. (Blake Nissen | Photo Editor)

Pat McGee, Sarah Grace, Peter Kotses win at-large seats

This story has been updated to reflect the most recent reporting.

Sarah Grace, Pat McGee and Peter Kotses won seats in the at-large Athens City Council race Tuesday night.

Sarah Grace, an Ohio University graduate student and former state representative candidate, won an at-large seat with 1,447 votes. 

Since her run for Ohio’s 94th House District in 2016, Grace has been pursuing a master’s degree in public health, that she hopes to use to serve the Athens community. 

“Sarah is one of the smartest people I've ever met, and that really comes through with how prepared she is to discuss public policy,” Nathan Cotton, Grace’s former campaign manager, said in a previous Post report. “Whatever the issue, she will become an expert and understand ramifications very intuitively.”

With a seat on council, Grace hopes to endorse efforts to increase the availability of affordable housing, support innovative job growth and make Athens a more environmentally sustainable place to live.

“Part of why I love Athens, is because I appreciate the funky progressive atmosphere of the town,” Grace said in an email interview. “I want more people to be able to contribute to and enjoy it as I have.”

Kotses, D, was re-elected to one of the three open at-large city council positions, earning 1,527 votes.

“I’m just grateful and excited that citizens feel like I’m doing a good job,” Kotses said.

He said he was going to go home, mow his lawn, rake his leaves and pick up yard signs.

Kotses, a 1992 OU graduate and local business owner, was first elected in 2015. Kotses was born to an OU professor and raised in Athens. After graduating from OU, he opened Athens Bicycle, 4 W. Stimson Ave., in 1998. He said his business skills help in city council operations, such as managing the budget.

Kotses said he was excited to serve a second term in which he plans to get more involved in leading the transportation committee.

McGee won his seat again with 1,429, continuing an Athens City Council career that began in 2016. McGee was a nonparty candidate, making him the only non-Democrat to be on council next session. 

McGee is a strong proponent of students and has worked for the Center for Student Legal Services since 2000. He served as legal counsel for some of those involved in the February protest in Baker Center that led to the arrest of 70 students, according to a previous Post report

He wants to represent more than just students, though. He ran for an at-large seat because he wanted to represent all people of Athens, and one of his goals was to strive “for increasing mutual respect between students and ‘townies’” so the city can be better for all.

“I'm feeling good," McGee said. “Let the party begin. It's not a party-party, but a hard work party."

Some of the main things he wants to push during his upcoming term include requiring body cameras for police officers, promoting free public transportation and preserve lower-income housing.




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