Melissa Long | Kent City Council


Candidate Name
Melissa Long

Office Sought
Kent City Council - Ward 1

Why are your running for office, and what previous experience makes you the most qualified candidate for this position?

I'm running for office because I feel members of Council, and their decisions, need more transparency. I also feel that we should be more communicative with the voting citizens of Kent.

My experience includes four years on Kent Planning Commission, and four years as a member of Kent City Council-At-Large. It also includes 10 years on Council for the city of Cortland, Ohio, and four years as their Mayor.

If elected, what do you hope to accomplish in this position?

If elected, I would like to see the funding model for infrastructure (streets and roads) changed to allow for additional monies toward road and street improvements.

What are three policy initiatives you plan to focus on if elected?

1. Infrastructure Improvements.
2. Adequate funding for the new city hall.
3. Continued support of the water and sewer department.

What can local governments do to encourage young people to stay in Northeast Ohio?

Local governments can encougage young people to stay in Northeast Ohio by continuing the availability of affordable housing, and the availability of jobs that pay more than minimum wage.

Do you support nondiscrimination policies that protect individuals regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, national origin, age, disability, veterans status, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression?

Of course!

Should cities in Ohio be required to cooperate with U.S. Department of Immigration & Customs Enforcement? Should cities have the right to become a sanctuary city?

I think that right (sanctuary cities) is already given to cities in the United States Constitution. The city of Kent also presented this issue to the voters.

What are your thoughts on public safety and your plans for crime prevention?

I believe that the kent police department does an excellent job, and I would continue to support them.

Do you support reasonable regulations on firearms in the United States? Please explain.

Of course!

Please respond "YES" or "NO" to the following questions/statements regarding the environment:

Do you recognize the existence of climate change?


Do you believe the government has a responsiblity to respond to climate change?


Do you support the use of "Fracking" (hydraulic fracturing) to extract oil or gas?


Do you support the restoration of funding for the EPA at the state and federal level?


Do you support state and federal governments incentivizing the adoption of clean/renewable energy sources over the use of fossil fuels?


The state of Ohio has continually cut funds to local governemnts over the last eight years. How do you plan on operating within the confines of an already reduced local budget, without cutting critical services to tax payers?

The City of Kent has done an aboslutely good job of working around the deficit that cuts in local funding have created. I feel that the deficit must be addressed again, directly to the state legislature, to have funding reinstated.

What can be done to create new business and encourage existing business to expand and attract more companies with their tax base and employees?

Our economic Development Director, Tom Wilke, is working very hard, even though the city of Kent is pretty well built out and has limited available land. He is working very hard to see that empty buildings are filled, and that he can work with the two townships adjoining the city (Franklin and Brimfield) to create businesses in those townships under the JEDD (Joint Economic Development District).

Should your district reduce the cost of services by contracting out or privatizing government services such as street sweeping and garbage collection and professional services such as engineering and information technology services? Why or why not?

All of those contracts come in front of council, and we look them over very completely. We weigh the fact of having our existing employees take over those jobs, and also bidding them out. As we look at those contracts we'll take those questions into consideration.

What will you do to actively engage young people in local government?

Encourage young people to read the tree city bulletin, and learn where they can participate in being part of the construction of the community. Also encouraging young people to be on our Boards and Commissions.

Do you feel that housing in your city is affordable for young people? If not, what will you do to address this issue?

Yes. Because we are a college town and housing is more readily available (competitive) in the City of Kent, as opposed to an area in which they do not have the influx of students.