First came an intense interest in history, which eventually led Ohio Wesleyan junior Adam Fleischer to the political arena, as a senior at Olentangy High School in Delaware County. At age 18, he won a race for the county’s Republican Central Committee seat. “That was a big thing for me,” says Fleischer, adding that “everything just snowballed after that.”
Fleischer, who also won a four-year term on the Berlin Township Board of Trustees last December, says he was told that he is the youngest elected official in county history. Already, he had successfully managed recent political campaigns, first for Barb Lewis, Delaware County commissioner, and then for Jon Husted, Ohio Secretary of State.
Now on Fleischer’s radar screen every day are the needs and thoughts of his 7,000 Berlin Township constituents. One of the fastest growing townships in Ohio, Berlin’s population has doubled in the last decade. Along with that growth has come the increased need for a smooth and effectively run local government.
“My three fellow trustees and I are assigned to specific departments,” explains Fleischer. His areas involve zoning matters, Township Hall maintenance, cemetery management, and working closely with the county prosecutor’s office on those matters. “If businesses don’t conform to zoning codes, we need to enforce them, so we must work together,” he says.
Thinking about his next three years on the board, Fleischer hopes to find maintenance solutions for one particular road in the township that floods every year. He also wants to encourage more community involvement.
“We have purchased a new electric sign for the front of Township Hall, in hopes of attracting larger groups of people to events and a variety of activities,” says Fleischer. And Berlin now has a Facebook page to further encourage a sense of community.
Fleischer says his local government experiences in Berlin blend well with classes at OWU.
“In my recent public administration course, we talked about the benefits of having a township manager, something our trustees were considering for Berlin Township,” says Fleischer, a politics and government major.
His decision to come to Ohio Wesleyan was influenced by the opportunity he would have to get to know his professors, and become involved in programs such as The OWU Connection.
Fleischer’s Student Independent Project last year enabled him to travel to Kentucky, Tennessee, and Georgia to study public administration practices. There, he met with city council members, development officials, and a variety of government organizations—a great complement to Fleischer’s college studies and local government experiences.
“Adam has a real aptitude for politics,” says Jenny Holland, assistant professor of politics and government and Fleischer’s advisor. “His on-the-job training will be useful as Adam considers his options for the future.”