Mar 22, 2023 - Politics

News and highlights from Mayor Ginther's State of the City

Photo illustration: Allie Carl/Axios. Photo: Bloomberg/Getty Images

Mayor Andrew Ginther spoke of his old stomping grounds at Whetstone High School and reflected on his two terms leading a rapidly changing metropolis in yesterday's State of the City address.

Why it matters: Ginther's speech, infused with biographical undertones, comes amid his first contested mayoral race since his inaugural run in 2015.

  • He faces independent challenger Joe Motil this November.

Our biggest takeaways from the 55-minute speech:

More gun restrictions on deck

Columbus will seek to pass universal background checks for gun purchases and a "red flag" law, which would allow the city to temporarily seize guns from a person considered a danger to themselves or others.

State of play: The city and state have recently battled in court over the right to enact local gun restrictions.

2024 ballot initiative for better transit

The city will pursue a 2024 ballot initiative to fund expanded transit services.

  • Ginther didn't provide specifics, but said Columbus is committed to improving access to "vital services" through affordable and reliable transportation options.

Flashback: A proposed sales tax increase to pay for bus service expansion was suggested for the 2022 ballot, but ultimately abandoned.

A growing police force

Columbus is on pace to employ a record number of police officers in 2024, Ginther boasted while citing the current rate of new hires.

What he's saying: "I believe strongly that we can support our officers and support policing reforms at the same time," Ginther said, pointing to new body camera equipment and the hiring of a police inspector general.

What we're watching: The work of Columbus' new Office of Violence Prevention, touted by Ginther as "the first of its kind in the state."

More pickleball

The mayor promised a "dramatic" pickleball expansion, with 30 dedicated courts to be built across the city over the next five years.

The big picture: The tennis-like hybrid exploded in popularity as the fastest-growing sport in America last year, Axios' Hope King writes.

Read the full address or watch it.

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