LIMA — The race for Lima’s mayor has its third contender.
Autumn Swanson, the city’s former neighborhood specialist, officially filed the necessary signatures at the Allen County Board of Elections while surrounded by friends and family Tuesday afternoon.
“To everyone out there that supported me, everyone that encouraged me, everyone that said: ‘Autumn, Go for it.’ Everyone that signed my petition, everyone that said: ‘You got this girl.’ Guess what? I do got it,” Swanson said. “I got all my signatures right here. And today I’m going into the board of elections. I’m going to file these petitions to run for the City of Lima mayor in 2021.”
In order to run for mayor, Swanson recently left her position with the city after spending over three years working in the department of community development as its neighborhood specialist, which coordinates city initiatives with local neighborhood associations. Prior to that job, she served on the city’s civil service board, worked as the program director of CASA of Allen & Putnam Counties and held the position of the community outreach manager at the Girl Scouts of West Ohio. She also holds a master’s degree in public administration.
As for her platform, she said she wants to increase community-wide engagement, create a culture of collaboration and put a stronger focus on building relationships in order to grow the city.
“This isn’t something I can do on my own. Being mayor isn’t something I can do just with me. It has to be we, and that’s everybody. That’s my family. That’s my friends. That’s the residents of Lima coming together and working hard to see Lima going better into the future,” Swanson said.
Such sentiments align well with Swanson’s former role with the city. As neighborhood specialist, she helped institute the Community Block Patrol program and organized the City Wide Pride clean-up events, which required volunteer action from community members to be effective. For her work, she was recognized as one of the three finalists for the Chamber’s Young Leader of the Year Award in 2020.
If she were to win the race for mayor, policy changes she’d like to see include putting more focus on community development as well as parks and recreation in order to get more people — especially younger people — involved in the city’s future.
“The job of the mayor is not necessarily to run the city administration, it’s to bring together what needs to happen for the city to run,” Swanson said.
Swanson joins two other candidates in the race for Lima’s mayor. Joshua Hayes, a business owner and chiropractor, announced his candidacy this past summer, and the City of Lima’s Chief of Staff, Sharetta Smith, held her campaign kick-off event this past November.
The candidate deadline to file for the non-partisan mayoral race is 90 days before the spring primary on May 4. On that day, Lima voters will choose two of the candidates, who will then run head-to-head in November.
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.