Eight of the Metro Council’s 26 seats will have new occupants as of Monday. Metro Council members who retired, lost in primaries or ran for other offices contributed to a slew of new representatives taking office.
It is the greatest number of new members to be inaugurated at once since the first Metro Council was seated in 2003 when the city and county merged, said Council President David James of District 6.
The council’s Democrats increased their majority by flipping two seats on Nov. 6. Starting this year, there will be 19 Democrats and seven Republicans.
The makeup of the legislative body will change in another way, too. There will be fewer women on the council than last year.
In early 2018, five council members announced they would not run for re-election. All of them were women. Three of those seats went to men, while District 21 elected a female representative who beat its male incumbent in the primary.
At the end of last year, there were 12 female Metro Council members and 14 males. This year, there will be 10 women and 16 men.
President James said the influx of new faces and ideas will benefit Metro Council.
“You see some bodies of government where people have been there for a long, long time and the enthusiasm has sometimes left that body,” he said. “I think, when you have change… it just provides for opportunities for some really fresh ideas to come into the mix.”
James, a Democrat, said he hopes to be elected president for another year because he wants to improve internal Metro Council processes, including transitioning some elements of the body’s workflow from paper to digital. He will face Democrat Brandon Coan of District 8 for the role at an organizational meeting Monday afternoon.
The odd-numbered Metro Council seats were up for election in 2018. Next year, citizens in even-numbered districts will have the chance to vote for their representatives.