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Jan-Michele Lemon Kearney will be Cincinnati's next vice mayor

Pureval and Lemon Kearney
Becca Costello
From left: Cincinnati Mayor-elect Aftab Pureval, Council Member Jan-Michele Lemon Kearney, her son Asher, and husband Eric.

Cincinnati Mayor-elect Aftab Pureval has chosen Jan-Michele Lemon Kearney to serve as vice mayor. Lemon Kearney was appointed to council in March 2020, but just won her first election a couple weeks ago with the most votes of all nine winners.

"In a vice mayor, I'm looking for a true partner; someone who can step in to the role without missing a beat; someone who has been a community leader for decades," Pureval says. "Jan-Michele fits all of those qualifications. In her brief time on council, she has proven to be an exceptional leader, leading on small business support; leading on affordable housing; leading on racial justice and racial equity. And that's why the voters so resoundingly sent her back to City Council."

Pureval says this is one of the most important decisions as he prepares to take office, and he feels it's a home run.

The vice mayor will help lead a council with six new members, all of whom campaigned together as candidates endorsed by the Hamilton County Democratic Party. Lemon Kearney says the job gives her added responsibility to keep council moving forward together.

"And that the ordinances that need to be passed are getting passed, and that everybody understands what the different viewpoints are," she says. "And of course, stepping in whenever the mayor can't be present."

Lemon Kearney says racial equity is the common thread in Pureval's policy priorities, and she's excited to work with him.

"As we progress as a city, we have to make sure that we pay attention to the underserved, to the people who are left behind," Lemon Kearney says. "We have to work for everybody so that everybody has opportunities to advance and to have a safe and thriving life. Our zip code should not be the determinant of our lifespan as it is now."

The new mayor and council will take office in January. Earlier this week, Pureval announced a transition committee with three co-chairs who will help him in the time leading up to his swearing in.

Becca Costello grew up in Williamsburg and Batavia (in Clermont County) listening to WVXU. Before joining the WVXU newsroom, she worked in public radio & TV journalism in Bloomington, Indiana and Lincoln, Nebraska. Becca has earned numerous awards for her reporting, including from local chapters of the Associated Press and Society of Professional Journalists, and contributed to regional and national Murrow Award winners. Becca has a master's degree in journalism from Indiana University and a bachelor's degree from Cincinnati Christian University. Becca's dog Cincy (named for the city they once again call home) is even more anxious than she is.