AKRON, Ohio — Akron Councilman Rich Swirsky, serving Ward 1, has died Wednesday following his battle with acute myeloid leukemia, the City of Akron announced Thursday. He was 68.
Swirsky, described as “a once-in-a-generation advocate for inclusivity, justice, and neighborhood stability as well as a father, husband, teacher, mentor, coach, and friend” by Mayor Dan Horrigan, was elected as the Ward 1 representative in November 2013 as a democrat, securing re-election in 2015-2019.
“Long before he was Councilman Swirsky - I knew him simply as Rich,” Horrigan said. “He was an active, engaged, and respected member of the Akron community his entire life. He made the people around him better, more conscientious, and more caring. His passion for the environment, for equality, and above all, for people, will leave a lasting impression on me personally, and on our entire community. I am grateful for the years we were able to work alongside each other and to make Ward 1, and all of Akron, a better place.”
Swirsky most recently served as the chair of Council’s Public Utilities and Green Committee, vice-chair of Housing and Neighborhood Assistance Committee and as a member of the planning and economic development committee.
During his time on city council, he co-sponsored significant legislative items like Akron’s non-discrimination ordinance known as the Akron Civil Right Acts and the tree ordinance.
"Rich was a uniting force on City Council,” Margo Sommerville, President of Akron City Council added. “He often served as a bridge between factions while we were debating some of our most complex challenges. We will miss his voice of calm, reason, and compassion. We extend our deepest condolences to Rich’s family and friends.”
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