LIMA — A Lima Senior graduate and native of the city hopes to bring a “fresh set of eyes” to Lima’s problems.
Elizabeth Hardesty, 40, filed her petitions to run for Lima’s mayor Wednesday. She hopes to replace Mayor David Berger, who announced last year he wouldn’t run again after eight terms as the city’s chief executive.
“I feel Lima is at a crossroads,” said Hardesty, the only registered Republican of the four candidates to file by Wednesday’s deadline. “I think they’ve been going down the same path for the last 30 years, and they’re going to continue to do so unless you bring in a fresh set of eyes.”
Hardesty graduated from Lima Senior in 1999. She earned her bachelor’s degree in mathematics and geology in 2003 at Wittenberg University, where she was a member of the swim team. She earned her master’s degree in geological sciences from Michigan State University in 2006. Since then, she’s worked mostly in the oil and gas industries. She lives on Lincoln Avenue in the city’s 6th Ward and voted in Republican primaries in 2020, 2016, 2008 and 2006, according to records from the Allen County Board of Elections.
She’s never been elected to a political office before, but she has plans to focus on “three main issues” during the campaign.
“With safety services, we need to make sure we’re fully funded and fully staffed, as well as promoting recruitment,” she said.
She also wants to fully review the parks and recreation department for the city “to help out the projects that are currently there.”
The third focus is on educating the future workforce for in-demand jobs.
“I want to work with the schools and the trade programs in town to make sure that we continue to grow our youth so that they are ready for jobs right out of school, and especially making sure that certain people in our community have the traits in order to fill with new industries coming in and new businesses coming in,” Hardesty said.
Hardesty touted her outsider status as an advantage, as two mayoral candidates, Sharetta Smith and Autumn Swanson, worked for Berger. The fourth candidate, Joshua Hayes, is a chiropractor. All four candidates will appear on the May ballot, with the top two vote-getters then facing off in November.
“I definitely think Lima just needs a new set of eyes and a different perspective,” Hardesty said. “I’m the oddball, at least out of the three ladies. I’m the one that doesn’t come from working for the City of Lima — at least since I was 20 and I was a lifeguard at Schoonover.”