Mayor Aftab Pureval's First State of the City Address at the Cincinnati Museum Center, November 2022

Mayor Aftab Delivers First State of the City Address, Announces New Policies, Initiatives for Year Ahead

Mayor Aftab delivered his first State of The City Address to a packed crowd at Cincinnati Museum Center on November 15th.  The mayor outlined the progress made on each of the strategic priorities he entered office with, while introducing new policies and initiatives that build upon equitable growth.  Those initiatives include:

  • A new commission led by P&G CEO Jon Moeller charged with tackling the City’s economic challenges, engaging the community and planning for the future.
  • Land use policy reforms to connect neighborhoods and grow the city’s business districts.
  • Reforms to the Residential Tax Abatement program to increase equity and target neighborhoods that need development.
  • A special code enforcement unit to crack down on negligent out of town landlords.
  • Expanding emergency rental assistance usage and Right to Counsel.

“The path that we are forging as a City is only possible because this community is filled to the brim with folks who want the best for everybody,” Mayor Aftab said. “What we all do here, it isn’t just about next year. It isn’t just about the next 10 years. We have the power to shape this city’s future for generations to come, and this is the moment when we must step up and take action.”

Over the past year, the Mayor said the City has worked hard on prioritizing equitable growth and development, public safety, climate change and the environment, affordable housing and pedestrian safety.

The City has attracted or retained more than 1,000 jobs and created over $23 million in payroll.  Through our economic development incentives, another 763 jobs were created or retained.  He stated that robust, equitable growth and job creation is critical to Cincinnati’s future success. To that end, the city has made historic investments in Black and Brown businesses and accelerator organizations such as MORTAR to create and grow Black wealth. Mayor Aftab acknowledged the work of Visit Cincy and other tourism organization in bringing life back into the urban core.

To improve public safety, city funding went toward a record number of fire and police hires.  An alternate response pilot provided unarmed mental health professionals for over 200 non-violent 911 calls, getting residents the services they need and freeing up nearly 250 hours of officer time to focus on preventing violence.

The largest investment in mental health in our city’s history was made this year with the expansion of the City’s Human Services Fund. Organizations connected 846 families to improved childcare options. The Mayor highlighted the September opening of Bethany House‘s new family shelter, made possible by a $5 million dollar capital commitment from the city.

To address Climate Change, the City is creating a community vision for what a sustainable, equitable and resilient future looks like through the Green Cincinnati Plan.  The City is pursuing an EPA grant to address environmental justice issues concentrated in the Lower Mill Creek Corridor to improve the quality of life and economic outlook for the predominantly Black and brown communities that were impacted by the industry of the last century.

When it comes to affordable housing, the City created the first-ever sustainable stream of revenue to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund.  We also incentivized the creation or renovation of over 1,029 units of housing.  417 of them are affordable, and 391 are at or below 60% AMI.

Various pedestrian safety measures have been implemented, including new speed cushions, bump outs, and crosswalks in 15 neighborhoods to date, and we plan on that number growing in the year to come.

Click here to watch a recording of the 2022 State of the City addresss.

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Anne C. Sesler

Director of Public Affairs

Anne Sesler brings more than twenty years’ experience in public affairs consulting to Government Strategies Group. Anne works with local elected officials, state legislators, reporters and community leaders on behalf of corporate and non-profit clients developing community outreach and engagement strategies, conducts media relations, builds grassroots support for projects, and conducts communication with stakeholders and legislators.

Anne lends her public policy and political communication experience beyond GSG to her role as Vice Chair of the Hamilton County Democratic Party. Over the years, she’s offered political counsel to both state and local campaigns, including Preschool Promise, Ohio Jobs and Growth (the casino ballot initiative), United for Jobs and Ohio’s Future (Third Frontier), and many others. Anne lives in Mt. Lookout with her husband, Bryan.

Focus areas: 

  • Local government relations
  • Coalition building
  • Media relations and communications
  • Crisis communications

Driven by:

  • Making Cincinnati a better place for all

In the community:

  • Leadership Cincinnati Class 47
  • Cincinnati Planning Commission member
  • Lunken Airport Oversight and Advisory Board Chair
  • Cincinnati Democratic Committee Co-Chair
  • Hamilton County Democratic Party, Vice Chair
  • Mt. Lookout Community Council member

Charles “Chip” Gerhardt

President & CEO

Chip Gerhardt has made government affairs, economic development, and issue advocacy his life’s work. He’s worked for decades in the public and private sectors, and advocated at the local, state, and federal levels of government. In 2007, he used that experience to found Government Strategies Group, a full-service government relations firm. At GSG, he works directly with clients, helping them navigate the complicated intersection of politics, public policy, and business.

In his many years in public policy, Chip has been involved in significant policies including; creation of tax increment financing districts, the Clean Ohio program, Cincinnati City Center Development Corporation, and most importantly, the passage of the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act. He has also been at the forefront of some of the biggest developments in Greater Cincinnati, including the Horseshoe (now Hard Rock) Casino, TQL Stadium for FC Cincinnati, parking garage structures at The Banks, and the redevelopment of the @580 building. Rarely is there a public policy endeavor in Cincinnati that does not involve GSG.

Chip received his B.B.A in Marketing from the University of Notre Dame and his Juris Doctor from the St. Louis University School of Law. He lives in Anderson Township with his wife Jane. Son Charlie is a local chef and children Hank and Anne have completed their education and started lives of their own.

Focus areas:

  • State and local government relations
  • Economic development
  • Issue advocacy

Driven by:

  • A lifelong interest in the political system has driven Chip to a career in public policy and politics. As a parent of three, one with Down syndrome, has compelled him to promote public policies designed to help others. Whether it is enabling financial independence for people with disabilities, advancing funding for housing families facing homelessness, or assisting with economic development projects, Chip involves himself in things that make a positive difference. 

In the community:

  • Hamilton County Board of Elections member
  • Current Board Member for Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati, People Working Cooperatively, Corporation for Findlay Market, goVibrant, and the African American Chamber of Commerce
  • Former Chairman of the Board for the National Down Syndrome Society
  • Former board member of the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, the Cincinnati Museum Center, the Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority, the Clermont County Chamber of Commerce, and the Down Syndrome Association of Greater Cincinnati
  • Cincinnati Magazine’s 300 of the Region’s Most Powerful Business Leaders, 2021-2022
  • Cincy Magazine Power 100, 2011-2022