Elizabeth Brown is excited about Columbus' future, and is determined to play an active role in shaping the city. The 31-year-old mother-to-be and daughter of Sen. Sharrod Brown (D-OH) is running for one of four open seats on Columbus' city council and plans to focus on poverty and neighborhood development if elected. With a background in economic development and a passion for public service, Brown hopes being elected to Columbus city council will allow her to build a better Columbus for the next generation.

Elizabeth Brown is excited about Columbus' future, and is determined to play an active role in shaping the city. The 31-year-old mother-to-be and daughter of Sen. Sharrod Brown (D-OH) is running for one of four open seats on Columbus' city council and plans to focus on poverty and neighborhood development if elected. With a background in economic development and a passion for public service, Brown hopes being elected to Columbus city council will allow her to build a better Columbus for the next generation.

"From a very early age, I really saw politics as public service. In a concrete way, I understood what my father was doing was trying to help people," Brown said in a recent interview at a downtown hotel. "At five years old, I didn't know what a Democrat or Republican was, but I remembered people coming up to him and thanking him for helping them. There is often a disconnect between politics and public service, but at its best, that is what serving an elected office is."

Brown is running against four other democrats for four open seats on city council in November, after being chosen to replace Councilwoman Michelle Mills who resigned in early September amid ethics questions. Though city council will appoint a person to finish Mills' term, Brown did not apply for the position, noting she'd rather be elected, despite being eight months pregnant during her campaign. If she wins, she will be the first councilperson since 1997 who wasn't first appointed to the position.

"Being eight months pregnant on the campaign trail has its ups and downs, but timing is everything. This opportunity presented itself, and I am very excited about talking to voters and actually getting their vote," Brown said. "[Columbus] is at an inflection point; our city is younger than the national average and is growing faster than any other city in Ohio. City council isn't going anywhere, and I could have waited to campaign, but I'm excited about where Columbus is right now, so the opportunity to start service in January is really exciting to me."

Brown quit her job as a Downtown development manager to run for city council. She says the 18 months she served in that role make her a valuable asset to city council if elected.

"I understand the nuts-and-bolts of job creation, and that will help me bring a fresh perspective to council. I understand the mechanisms of how to grow jobs," Brown said. "Having worked with private sector partners, I understand a city's 'pitch' is as important as the tools it has for business growth. Businesses want to know they are locating in a place where their workers will want to live and raise a family. I get the hard nuts-and-bolts side and the soft side."

Brown believes her work in the non-profit sector will also help inform her decisions if elected to council.

"My time in non-profit service has increased my passion for city development. We're talking about real people when we make laws," Brown said. "I am on the YWCA board of directors, and every day we serve homeless families. They are just like so many others in Columbus who are one tragedy away from homelessness. It's no longer a theoretical problem for me."

Brown plans to address poverty and neighborhood development if she is elected to council.

"It's important to make sure our thriving neighborhoods to continue thrive, but your future in Columbus shouldn't be dictated by the ZIP code you're born into," Brown said. "It's going to be very important to position Columbus for when my baby is 20 years old. If we are able to do right by the next generation in Columbus, my child will see a better city."