Council selects political veteran to represent 8th Ward

February 04, 2009

Ward 8 – Raymond W. Cox III, a university professor, author and former public servant in varying capacities in the states of Massachusetts and New Mexico, was named Monday night to replace Bob Keith as the new Ward 8 Councilman.

Cox, 59, was selected out of 20 applicants by a special Ward 8 Search committee headed by At Large Councilman Jim Shealey.

The Avondale Avenue resident of six years is a professor and interim chair of the University of Akron’s Department of Public Administration and Urban Studies. Cox said he ran for the vacant seat because he had always felt compelled to continue his more than 30 years of public service in his new hometown of nine years.

Cox, a Democrat, worked as a legislative analyst for the Massachusetts House of Representatives in the 1970’s and the Chief of Staff to the Lieutenant Governor of New Mexico in the early 1990’s.

“I have devoted my whole life to public service, and it made sense for me to serve,” Cox said. “I live here and I love Akron, and it’s an opportunity to give back to my city in a more personal way.”

Now in office, Cox hopes to continue many of the neighborhood improvement projects begun under Keith’s term in office, to know as many residents as he can, and to listen to their concerns in order to set his new agenda.

“The constituency is the bread and butter of any legislative body,” Cox said. “I believe in walking around and knocking on doors and letting my constituents look me in the eye.”

Council President Marco Sommervile (W-3) said the task to fill the Ward 8 seat was not an easy one, considering the number of well-qualified applicants who vied for the seat. He welcomed Cox as the best candidate for the job and offered Council’s support to help him hit the ground running in his new position.

“We had some really great candidates express interest in this seat, and it was a very, very difficult choice,” Sommerville said. “The committee selected Cox, and we welcome him at a time when things are very challenging for cities.”

Cox will serve out the remainder of Keith’s old term, which expires this year. He will run for the office in the November 2009 general election.

Cox and his wife, Nancy Foye-Cox, have a son, Geoffrey.