Council fills vacancy in District 4

By Brandi Makuski

Makeerah Zarazua is the city’s new representative for District 4.

During a 90-minute special city council meeting on Wednesday, three candidates were asked a variety of questions by sitting members of the council. Topics ranged from candidates’ thoughts on controversial topics—Stanley St. was used as an example—to their perception of the city council’s role in local government.

Zarazua ultimately won her seat by a 5-4 vote, beating out Will Stites, who received minority support, and Brian Worzella, a second-time candidate for the seat who did not garner any votes from the council.

Zarazua said she’s been a city resident for 23 years and has a strong background in social work. She currently works as a shelter advocation at the CAP Services Family Crisis Center.

She is also a volunteer for the Portage Co. Hoarding Task Force and co-founder of Partners In Nurturing Community, an advocacy group for people with disabilities.

She previously was employed at Inclusa, Community Care Connections, and Community Industries Corporation.

“I have a job history that demonstrates my dedication to working collaboratively to meet the needs of the people whom I serve, and I am eager to bring my skills and enthusiasm to the city council,” she wrote in her letter to the council.

Zarazua told the council she decided to put her name in for consideration “about a week-and-a-half ago”. She feels strongly about increasing housing stock for low-income families and improving public transportation.

Zarazua succeeds Heidi Oberstadt, who resigned effective April 30. She will serve the remainder of Oberstadt’s role through spring of 2020.