Camille Fine

West Side Ally


Kent Butler, D-1st Ward, has served on city council for nearly 10 years

Taylor Heddleson / For The Post

In 2008, Kent Butler was approached by people on the west side of Athens about running for a position on city council.


During that time, former Athens Mayor Paul Wiehl was considering leaving his council position to run for mayor. Butler has held his seat on city council since then.


Butler is running to continue representing the first ward on Athens City Council. The first ward covers the west side of Athens.


Butler is an Ohio University alum with a master’s degree in education in rehabilitation counseling. In addition to his position on city council, he is the executive director of the Hocking Valley Community Residential Center.


He believes some of the main issues facing Athens as a whole include aging infrastructure, the opioid epidemic and general safety issues.


“I think we need to continue to engage and listen to community members about the direction they want to see their city grow,” Butler said.


He currently chairs the City and Safety Services Committee, which deals with city infrastructures and the police and fire departments.


He said there are homes of all types on the west side, from student housing to middle-class family homes. Additionally, he said there are several businesses on the west side that he is “trying to make sure infrastructure is there to help them prosper.”

“I think we need to continue to engage and listen to community members about the direction they want to see their city grow." – Kent Butler

“I would argue that the first ward is one of the most diverse social economic districts,” Butler said.


General safety issues, private business infrastructures and aging infrastructures, and mobility and transportation for those with disabilities are a few of the things Butler thinks are issues for Athens’ west side. Butler also said the topography of the area is “challenging when considering certain needs and legislation.”


While serving his terms, he has become “associated with LGBT-friendly and inclusive legislation” and making Athens pedestrian- and bike-friendly.


“Sometimes making a political impact is zero recognition and being a quiet voice of reason in a room, or sometimes making a political impact is to be loud and obnoxious,” Butler said, “I think my (political) impact (on Athens) is through working in a way that empowers people.”


Some of his most memorable experiences during his career on city council have included being a part of legislations that he believes increased inclusion and diversity, he said. Additionally, Butler said “seeing (residents’) creativity come to fruition” in the Athens community is one of his favorite parts of being on council.


He loves when residents come to city council meetings with ideas to help better the city and likes seeing them be empowered when their ideas become reality in the form of legislation.


“It’s pretty exciting when it starts off as just a small idea and it becomes an integral part of the community or the city,” he said.


Butler made $7,919.55 in calendar year 2017 as a councilman and is running against Brian Cristi.

Development by: Taylor Johnston / Digital Production Editor

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