Local attorney Denise Stollings didn’t win a seat on Bryan City Council Tuesday, finishing second in the three-person race for an at-large council seat. But she said it will still be an election she’ll remember for a long time.
For one thing, it was the first time her 18-year-old daughter, Bryan High School senior Jessica Mueller, cast a ballot in an election, having just turned 18 in September.
And while you might think it’s automatic that Mueller voted for her, Stollings said Mueller was playfully noncommittal.
“When we were at the polling place to cast our ballots, I asked her. She said she could neither confirm nor deny that she voted for me,” Stollings said with a hearty laugh Wednesday as she reflected on her first run for public office.
Also Wednesday, Mueller was interviewed by Cameron Hoover, sportswriter for The Bryan Times, about Mueller’s decision to accept an athletic scholarship to play for the University of Saint Francis women’s soccer team.
“It’s been a very exciting few days,” said Stollings, a local practicing attorney who’s also a contract attorney for the Toledo Legal Aid Society.
Local business owner and Bryan Area Chamber Of Commerce board member Jim Kozumplik won the at-large council seat formerly held by Lynn Wieland, who resigned due to work and family commitments. Unofficial election night results had Kozumplik with 589 votes to 350 for Stollings and 341 for Michael Lirot.
Stollings said she was initially unsure she would run, and entered the council race late ... as in she took out her nominating petition the day before it was due in August. She circulated the petition and submitted it one day before the filing deadline, managing to gather more than 50 valid signatures of local voters in less than 24 hours while commuting for work and being a wife and mother.
Looking back, Stollings said at first she declined to run, telling Jessica she didn’t want her candidacy to interfere with Mueller’s senior season on the BHS soccer team. But then with Mueller’s blessing, Stollings decided to run, promising her daughter she would do her best to make sure the campaigning did not interfere with Mueller’s season.
Stollings, who’s married to Williams County Juvenile Court Administrator Jerry Stollings, said she managed to mount an active campaign by getting out and knocking on doors in the community. And while disappointed she didn’t win, she termed her run a success anyway.
And it may not be her last.
“You know, I met so many great people and got so much great feedback. I think I’d like to do something, but I don’t know what. But there might be something in the future ... I feel some momentum now,” she said.