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Arian Smedley poses in front of the Athens Courthouse stairs on Monday Nov. 4, 2019.

Arian Smedley to represent west side issues and making citizens feel heard

After winning the Athens City Council 1st Ward primary, Arian Smedley is a shoo-in to become councilwoman, as she is running unopposed.

Smedley said that as a representative of Athens’ west side, she will be doing everything she can to improve the quality of life for those residents. She said safety is a major concern on the west side and things like lighting and sidewalks should be improved.

“We need to make sure that the city is doing everything it can to ensure residents feel safe living, working, and spending time in our part of town,” she said in an email.

After graduating from Athens High School and then from Ohio University, Smedley said her family was always into politics but took on a role that wasn’t in the spotlight.

“It wasn't until 2017 did I first run for office,” she said in an email. “I was appointed to fill a vacant Athens City Council at-large seat, and then I ran for a full term. I was unsuccessful, and learned a great deal from that experience. I knew if I was to run again, it'd be for my ward, or my neighborhood. So that is what I did.”

She said that being involved in local government was a product of good timing.

“I entered a time in my life where I felt like I had the bandwidth and the experience to do some good for the city that's been so good to me,” she said in an email.

As both a councilwoman and a member of her community, Smedley said citizens of the west side can expect to feel heard.

“The simple fact that I'll be in a position of representing my neighbors, in a neighborhood where I was essentially raised, is exhilarating,” she said in an email. “I'm passionate about the West Side, and I'm passionate about finding ways to make our part of town even better.”

After moving to Athens in 1991 and becoming a west side resident in second grade, she said that the community hasn’t changed much, but there is room for improvement.

“The West Side Ballfields, also known as West State Street Park, was better maintained back then,” Smedley said. “That park has been neglected for many years. It's my hope that during my tenure we'll see improvements there.”

And as a community member, Smedley said spending time with her family, among other hobbies, is how she spends her free time. She and her son also train in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Smedley is in her second year in graduate school for a master’s degree in public administration at OU.

She said her goal is to ensure her constituents actually feel represented, and that they feel proud to live in their community. She said she hopes to use her experience as a long-time community member to make the right changes.

“I've been in this town long enough to know where we have progressed as a neighborhood, and where we have not,” Smedley said in an email. “It's my hope I'll be able to channel that experience into positive improvements.”


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