The Cincinnati City Council officially has a new member. Republican Elizabeth “Betsy” Sundermann was sworn in Wednesday night after being named to replace Amy Murray, who is leaving to take a job in DC
Sundermann is a lawyer and has served as a judge for Hamilton County Probate Court Judge Ralph Winkler.
She told an audience of Cincinnatians want a government that will listen to them. She said her focus will be on jobs, opportunities and safe neighborhoods.
“I will fight for Cincinnatians who want to work hard, move forward and live better lives,” said Sundermann. “I will stand up for the citizens who help our community flourish and prosper. I will fight for all of you. If we work together, we can rise from the chaos and solve the big problems in our city without division, and with common sense instead. “
Sundermann grew up in Hyde Park and holds degrees from DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, and the University of Cincinnati College of Law.
She is married to David Laing. They have two children and live in East Price Hill.
Laing now works in the city law firm. Prior to that, he was an advisor to Councilor PG Sittenfeld and Mayor John Cranley.
Murray and a committee selected Sundermann to fill the seat last week.
The nomination to council members was dramatic, and Murray successors Christopher Smitherman and Jeff Pastor reportedly preferred another candidate to fill the seat. Murray also reportedly threatened to change her town hall papers to allow another council member to be appointed.
A series of talks and meetings on Monday appeared to have resolved the matter.
Murray is leaving the council to become director of small business programs for the US Department of Defense. It is a political appointment and serves the will of the president. She starts this job in Washington on March 16.
Murray was commended on Wednesday night by her fellow councilors for their service and friendship.
“I told you today that I will miss you very much, I count you to be a great friend,” said Councilor David Mann. “I think you are the epitome of what public service should be. You come to the meetings prepared and represent your point of view very well. And the city is the better for that.”
Councilor Wendell Young said party affiliation made no difference to Murray when it came to getting things done.
“You made a career here that I absolutely admire,” said Young. “I especially like how you showed that you can work on a project and try to make it successful even if you think the project shouldn’t exist. I think that’s great. I think it says a lot about your character, it says a lot about your commitment to service. “
Meanwhile, Sittenfeld is still working to fill the open seat of Councilor Tamaya Dennard, who resigned this week after being charged by federal prosecutors with allegedly selling her votes on the council.
Sittenfeld announced the selection criteria on Tuesday, saying he hopes to make a selection by the end of the month.