The council member for Akron’s Ward 3 could potentially only change by one letter.
Margo Sommerville applied for the seat vacated by her father, Marco Sommerville, a longtime councilman and council president.
She was among nine applicants who put in to fulfill the remaining year of Marco Sommerville’s term as of Thursday. Sommerville is stepping down as of Jan. 1 to become planning director.
“I hope to create my own name in politics,” said Margo Sommerville, 32, who has worked for her father’s funeral home for nine years and will now take the lead in the business because of his cabinet appointment.
A committee of council members will interview the candidates between 3 and 7 p.m. today, possibly continuing on Saturday, and make a recommendation to council when it returns from its holiday break Jan. 7.
The person appointed would have to run for the seat to keep it next year. Council members receive $33,010 a year.
To qualify, a candidate must be of voting age and have lived in Ward 3 for a year. Two people who applied live in Ward 4 and weren’t eligible.
The eligible candidates, besides the junior Sommerville, are:
• Michael W. Bradley, a former notary public and former employee in the University of Akron’s building services. He said in his letter that he’d like to address “issues affecting neighborhoods: habitability, street and sidewalk repairs, abandoned houses and barking dogs.”
• Anthony E. Brown, a perishables manager at the Acme on Manchester Road. His resume describes him as a “team player, quick learner and a self starter with extremely dedicated work ethic.”
• Michael A. Dowdell, an 11-year member of the Akron Planning Commission and a lien clearance examiner with Old Republic National Title Insurance Co. in Akron. He said his experience has “equipped me with the qualified skills to serve.”
• Nyere McGuire, who is president of the Copley Road Merchant Association and owner of Level III Fashions Inc.
• Andrae Long, who led the unsuccessful campaign against a charter amendment on the November ballot that changed the length of terms of ward council members and works as an independent contractor for Project Ujima, a Buchtel-cluster community-engagement program. “I am aware of the struggles of our community from multiple perspectives, and have developed several plans on how to help ease these struggles,” he wrote in his letter.
• Wanda D. Rookard, president of the Trigonia Drive and Rhodes Block Club and a parent-teacher liaison for Akron Public Schools. “I am always looking for ways to do more, give more and be more,” she said in her letter.
• Ibrahim H. Saoud, an executive board member in charge of public relations at Akron Masjid, the city’s only mosque. “My concern for our community does not stem from a religious obligation but a very human desire to see everyone succeed and do well despite the circumstances we are given,” he said in his letter.
• Grandville Weems, a supervisor at Arthur Middleton Capital Holding Inc. in Canton. He said Marco Sommerville did a great job and he wants to take what he did “to the next level.”
Council President Garry Moneypenny said several of the candidates have impressive credentials and all “will be given a fair shot.”
Margo Sommerville said she grew up around politics watching her father and has a good understanding of how it works. She also has a master’s in public administration/urban studies.
“I know how challenging and rewarding public service can be,” she said.
Marco Sommerville, who represented Ward 3 for nearly 25 years, tried to talk his daughter out of applying for the position. He has a photograph of Margo as a young girl holding a sign for him that said, “Vote for My Daddy.” He said if she is appointed and then runs, he’ll hold a sign for her that says, “Vote for My Daughter.”
Stephanie Warsmith can be reached at 330-996-3705 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter: @swarsmith.