Cincinnati City Council member P.G. Sittenfeld ’07 became the youngest Cincinnati city council member ever when he won the election with 30,474 votes, the second-highest number of votes, last Tuesday.
Sittenfeld, an English major who served as freshman class president at Princeton, was elected in his first time running for city council in a field of 23 candidates that included all nine incumbents.
“My message was that people want council members who work together to get things done,” Sittenfeld said. “In my campaign I talked about not-so-glamorous things like potholes.”
Sittenfeld said that his successful campaign included his message as well as fundraising and support from community leaders.
“First, I reached out to enlist community leaders to earn their trust and borrow their credibility,” Sittenfeld said. “Second, I had to fundraise to get my name and message out, which included knocking on doors. Third, I cultivated a strong resonant message to the people.”
Sittenfeld, a Democrat and native Cincinnatian, was one of the top three candidates in fundraising and one of seven Democrats elected to the council.
In addition to discussing a cohesive city council that worked together, Sittenfeld discussed a better relationship between the city and the school system as part of his message.
“The city is separate from the school system, and I want a productive relationship between the city and the school system,” Sittenfeld said.
In the past two years, Sittenfeld worked as assistant director of the Community Learning Center Institute, an organization that “leads the ongoing engagement of the Greater Cincinnati community in the development of all schools as community learning centers, each with a set of financially self-sustaining, co-located community partnerships responsive to the vision and needs of each school and its neighborhood,” according to its website.
Unlike many other candidates for the Cincinnati City Council, Sittenfeld was elected his first time running. As a council member, Sittenfeld will work with eight other members to represent a city of over two million people.
“My duty is to be one of nine in charge of a $1.3 billion budget for the city, and it’s my job to be a good steward,” Sittenfeld said.
Sittenfeld cited several reasons for deciding to run, including his love for the city, his frustration with the way the Cincinnati City Council was governing and the “Princeton spirit” that good people with good intentions could make a political difference.
“The Princeton community has been supportive in my campaign, both my friends and other fellow Tigers,” Sittenfeld said. “Princeton also gave me an awesome education and terrific friends.”
After graduating from Princeton, Sittenfeld earned a master’s degree in English and American Studies at the University of Oxford through a Marshall Scholarship before returning to Cincinnati to work for the Community Learning Center Institute.