Swatek defeats Coleman in Long Reach election

Russ Swatek defeated Ed Coleman for the 10th and final seat on the Columbia Council this weekend, making Swatek the council representative for Long Reach for the next two years.

Swatek, who served on the board from 2009-11, was elected by a vote of 270-157. 

After not seeking reelection in 2011, Swatek attended many Columbia Association board meetings as a resident. The 66-year-old has been critical of the board at meetings, and said he will push for more openness and transparency for CA.

"I think it was less open at the end of my two years (on the board), and it's even less open now," Swatek said in an interview leading up to the elections. 

Swatek said his decision to run came after the board approved the Inner Arbor Plan for Symphony Woods Park, which proposes building an arts village with theaters and a CA headquarters on the eastern side of the park.

Swatek said he does not support the plan.

"I don’t want to see sizable buildings in Symphony Woods, I want it to remain more of the park-type environment," Swatek said. "The idea of putting CA headquarters there is ludicrous."

Swatek is the third new member elected to the CA board this year, joining former Kings Contrivance board member Brian Dunn and new Wilde Lake representative Nancy McCord on the board. 

On April 20, McCord and incumbents Alex Hekimian and Michael Cornell, of Oakland Mills and River Hill, respectively, were elected to the board in the other three contested board seats.

An extra election day, April 27, was added in Long Reach after the village delayed mail distribution of the absentee ballots. In addition, the absentee deadline was extended from April 19 to April 26. 

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