Sunday, October 22, 2017
TIFFIN – Tiffin City Councilman Ben Gillig (D), known to many in the city as the “teacher-turned-councilman,” participated in an exclusive interview with TiffinOhio.net and answered some of our questions on his appointment to council as well as other topics.
1. What are your goals for your position as a Tiffin City Council member?
“Quite honestly, my first priority is to just learn as much as I can about our city government. We have the good fortune to have lots of experience on council, as well as fantastic city leadership. I’ll be on a learning curve for quite some time, and I know I’ll have lots of questions. It’s always important to “know what you don’t know” and then take the steps needed to become knowledgeable.
I’m also very interested in continued improvement of our infrastructure (roads, sewers, sidewalks, street lighting). I’ll always be in favor of anything that enhances the comfort and safety of our residents and visitors, while at the same time not causing undue burden on our taxpayers.”
2. Were you surprised by the Seneca County Democratic Party’s decision to appoint you to council? Did you have contact with them prior to the position’s vacancy regarding the matter?
“I have been in fairly consistent contact with our party chairman, Jim Fruth, since I declared my intention to run as a write-in candidate for council. I was thrilled that the Democratic Party had faith in me, particularly since my candidacy was a bit if a surprise. One unanticipated obstacle was that our committee meetings are on Thursday night, which was always in conflict with my football coaching duties for Tiffin Middle School. I felt like I owed it to the boys not to miss a game. I’m very grateful for the party being flexible and understanding, and it was wonderful to receive the congratulatory text from Chairman Fruth on the 12th.”
3. What, if any, are your future political plans? Do you have intentions to run for any higher office, such as Congress?
“My father was a big proponent on serving your community. He was a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals for 16 years, and also twice ran for City Council. This lesson was never lost on me. As for any future political plans, my intention for the foreseeable future is to serve as a willing, and capable at-large representative for the good people of our city. I honestly don’t know if I’ll ever pursue a higher office than city council, but in my classroom a part of our honor code states “If We Have the Chance To Help Someone We Will Do It”. Should I be called to serve in a larger capacity, and I’m able to do so then it’s something I wouldn’t rule out in the future.”
4. Do you plan to tie your experience as a councilman into your lesson plans in the classroom?
“The educational opportunities are essentially endless, as a portion of our learning standards in the 8th grade is devoted to the evolution of American government. More importantly, my students are a large part of why I chose to run for City Council. I have the privilege of working with so many talented young ladies and gentlemen on a daily basis. They are extraordinary. I believe Tiffin is in the midst of a sort of Renaissance. I’ve lived here for 36 years, and I can’t remember a time where there was such positive momentum in our city. My hope is that if we continue in this positive direction, some of our homegrown talent will choose Tiffin as they begin their careers and start their families. I also hope to lead by example, and show how important it is to be an active member of your community.”
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