Today Michael Coleman steps down as the Mayor of Columbus, Ohio. He will be replaced by Andrew Ginther.
Coleman, a Democrat, was the Mayor of Columbus for 16 years. In his farewell speech today, Coleman said, simply, “I did my best.” And then, evoking the kind of sports metaphor that the home of Ohio State football appreciates, he said: “I left it all on the field. I dreamed what Columbus could be and worked hard to achieve it.”
Coleman believes that he is leaving Columbus in better shape than it was when he took office, and I wholeheartedly agree with him. The city’s budget is in good shape. Its economy largely avoided the ravages of the recession. Its neighborhoods have been a focal point of Coleman’s tenure, and they have benefitted from his attention. Its downtown area has been revitalized, and it has some very cool areas — like the Short North and the Arena District — that visitors rave about. While other cities in the Midwest have shriveled, Columbus continues to grow. And Coleman’s tenure has been blessedly untainted by any significant political scandal.
During the time Kish and I have lived here, Columbus has had mayors of both political parties, but all of them — Republican or Democrat — share one common characteristic: an ability to get along with everyone, and move the city forward. This lack of partisanship has served Columbus well, and Coleman epitomized it. At one point he toyed with the idea of running for Governor, but fortunately for Columbus he decided to stay her and keep the city moving in the right direction.
Michael Coleman will be missed.