Former, current KSU students apply for open council position

Jenna Staul

Among the 15 applicants vying for a vacated seat on Kent City Council are a former Undergraduate Student Senate executive director and a former Graduate Student Senate representative.

Ross Miltner, a 2007 communication studies graduate who held the USS leadership position in the 2006-2007 academic year filed papers Jan. 15 to fill the seat left after at-large councilman William Schultz died earlier this month.

The current Kent State graduate student said Schultz’s passing inspired him to run.

“I decided to run when I attended the memorial for councilman Schultz,” Miltner said. “I thought ‘What are the odds that they would have somebody under 30 on the council?’ Then I found out that Schultz got on when he was my age for a vacated seat.”

Doron Kutash, GSS representative for masters in business in the 2006-2007 academic year, graduated with a masters degree in 2007.

Kutash said while his attempt to get into politics is coming sooner than he expected, it isn’t something he’s doing on a whim.

“I’ve always had aspirations to make change,” he said.

Miltner, 23, said his age and experience working for USS makes him a unique candidate for a council position in a city that is largely populated by college students.

“I am in that age group,” Miltner said. “I can identify with them, and I can address their needs and wants. It hasn’t been 10 years since I was on a college campus.”

Mayor John Fender said while it would be a new aspect for council, it wouldn’t be the first time there’s been a direct Kent State connection.

“I welcome students,” he said. “We’ve had professors before, but not students.”

Kutash, owner of the Go2Go taxi service, said his business gives him unique access to the community – both that of the city and university.

“I have a direct connection to everybody in Kent,” he said.

Along with the taxi service, Kutash is a Main Street Kent volunteer and co-founder of the United Way Campus Organization. He said his immersion within both the city and university will allow him to help bring solutions that benefit both groups.

Miltner said he hopes he can use the position to help revitalize Kent, which he said is “hemorrhaging money.”

“I think we need to get businesses downtown,” Miltner said. “It always amazes me how much disposable income students have, and they’re not spending it in Kent.”

Miltner thinks the city should take a more active role to bring in business such as retail shops and sit-down restaurants.

“The city is in a declining economic situation,” Miltner said. “We need to keep the economic situation vibrant and without raising taxes.”

For Kutash, serving Kent is something he said he feels a strong connection with.

“I’m not gonna leave here till I do great things for this area,” he said.

City Council will be holding public interviewing for the candidates today at 7 p.m. If council agrees on a candidate, the position will be announced Monday, and the appointee will be sworn in the same day.

Should council not be able to make a decision, Fender will have until Feb. 2 to appoint a new council member.

“They’re targeting young people (in the downtown revitalization) to be the ones going into these stores,” Miltner said. “They can’t do that without a young person on the council.”

Contact student politics reporter Jenna Staul at [email protected].

Public affairs reporter Christina Anthony contributed to the story. Contact her at [email protected].