Elizabeth Brown was elected to Columbus City Council in 2015 and holds the office of President Pro Tempore. In addition, Brown is the Executive Director of the Ohio Women’s Public Policy Network, is a member of the Columbus Women’s Commission, and serves on the CelebrateOne Policy Committee. She has prior experience in economic development, nonprofit service, and state government. Brown worked as an economic development manager to the City of Columbus, taught middle school students as a City Year Americorps member, and has been published in New York Magazine and WOSU Public Radio.
President Pro Tem Brown’s core objective on Council is to fight for broad-based economic prosperity that addresses both business growth and poverty reduction. In her first year, Brown commissioned a comprehensive study of the city’s tax incentive policies that resulted in a $15-per-hour minimum wage for city job incentives and new affordable housing requirements for city housing incentives. Brown introduced and passed an ordinance to promote the hiring of disadvantaged workers by companies who bid on city construction projects.
As Finance Committee Chair, Brown has worked to make the city’s capital and operating budgets open and accessible by engaging with residents, Area Commissions, and Civic Associations to solicit feedback on local budget priorities in communities throughout Columbus. She moved capital budget hearings outside of City Hall and into neighborhoods to make them more accessible and to focus on local investments.
Other initiatives reflect Brown’s focus on broadening access to opportunity and strengthening women and families. As Education Committee Chair, Brown sponsored scholarships for kids to enroll in high-quality pre-Kindergarten as well as career development opportunities for their teachers. Brown led the implementation of a paid family leave policy for city employees – the first of its kind in the Midwest and the third nationally. In response to a spike in vandalism and police calls to reproductive health clinics, she passed a law to prevent harassment of workers and patients. Brown sponsored a program to offer free menstrual products in Columbus recreation centers and spearheaded a partnership to provide free menstrual products for women in homeless shelters. She funded an initiative with Moms2B and the Community Shelter Board to connect at-risk pregnant women with stable housing, employment assistance, and medical care. In the face of aggressive and indiscriminant deportation tactics against Columbus residents, Brown established the Columbus Families Together Fund, which provides legal resources to keep immigrant and refugee parents in Columbus with their children.
Brown and her husband Patrick Katzenmeyer live in Columbus’s Victorian Village neighborhood, along with their children Carolyn and Russell. Originally born in the Berwick neighborhood of Columbus, Brown was raised in Granville, Ohio, and is a proud public school graduate. Brown is a magna cum laude graduate of Columbia University where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in English.