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Counter Points is written by WVXU Senior Political Analyst Howard Wilkinson. In it, he shares insights on political news on the local, state and national level that impacts the 2020 election. Counter Points is delivered once a week on Wednesdays and will cease publication soon after the November election is decided.

Betsy Sundermann To Replace Amy Murray, Whose Council Tenure Ends Wednesday

christopher smitherman amy murray jeff pastor
Jay Hanselman
Cincinnati Council Member Amy Murray (center) chaired her final committe meeting Tuesday with Vice Mayor Christopher Smitherman (left) and Council Member Jeff Pastor (right).

Cincinnati Council Member Amy Murrray announced Tuesday she'll officially resign following the regular weekly council meeting Wednesday evening.
Murray, a Republican, is leaving council to be the director of small business programs for the U.S. Department of Defense. It's a political appointment and serves at the will of the president. She starts that job in Washington, D.C., March 16.

Immediately following Murray's resignation Wednesday evening, Vice Mayor Christopher Smitherman and Council Member Jeff Pastor will appoint Betsy Sundermann to take her place. She'll be sworn-in immediately.

Murray and a committee had made that selection last week. The Hamilton County GOP described Sundermann as "a longtime lawyer, magistrate, activist and community leader in the city's West Side."

There was some drama surrounding the appointment as Smitherman and Pastor reportedly preferred another candidate to fill the seat. Murray also reportedly threatened to change her city hall paperwork to allow another council member to make the appointment.

A series of conversations and meetings Monday apparently resolved the matter.

Murray was emotional as she chaired her last Economic Growth and Zoning Committee Tuesday. She thanked Smitherman and Pastor for serving on the committee and their help on other city issues.

"It's so sad leaving the city, even though we always have chaos and drama, and nothing, you know, is without that," Murray said. "But, we have been on every committee together through thick and thin and I just so appreciate all the work that you have done with us and moving the city forward, and economic growth and the stuff we've done with them on Law and Public Safety."

Smitherman thanked Murray for her service and her friendship.

"I have enjoyed working with you and I look forward to continuing to work with you as you move up on the federal level," Smitherman said.

Pastor worked on one of Murray's early council campaigns before he was elected to council himself in 2017, and has served alongside Murray since then.

"We haven't always agreed," Pastor said. "But it's very difficult to disagree with someone who has all of their facts straight. You know what I mean? I've always appreciated how you've always raised your argument without raising your voice."

Murray was term-limited and could not run for re-election in 2021.

She first ran for City Council in 2009, finishing 12th in a race where the top nine are elected.

In Jan. 2011, Murray was appointed to replace fellow Republican Chris Monzel when he was elected Hamilton County commissioner. She failed to win re-election in Nov. 2011, coming in 12th.

Murray ran again in 2013 and won, finishing in 9th place. She was re-elected in 2017, coming in 8th.

Murray has worked closely with Mayor John Cranley and was a key vote when Cranley wanted to oust former City Manager Harry Black in 2018. Black resigned his position before the council could vote to fire him.

Murray is originally from Arizona, and during high school she spent a year in Kyoto, Japan, learning about the culture, language and people. She has a bachelor of arts degree in economics from Arizona State University. She was hired by Procter & Gamble, where she worked in global business development for 14 years.

Jay Hanselman brings more than 10 years experience as a news anchor and reporter to 91.7 WVXU. He came to WVXU from WNKU, where he hosted the local broadcast of All Things Considered. Hanselman has been recognized for his reporting by the Kentucky AP Broadcasters Association, the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, and the Ohio AP Broadcasters.