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Lemon Kearney Will Join Cincinnati City Council Next Week

Jan-Michele Lemon Kearney is expected to be named Wednesday to replace former Council Member Tamaya Dennard following her resignation.
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Jan-Michele Lemon Kearney
Jan-Michele Lemon Kearney is expected to be named Wednesday to replace former Council Member Tamaya Dennard following her resignation.

Jan-Michele Lemon Kearney, a Democrat who lives in North Avondale, is the newest member of Cincinnati City Council.  She'll take her oath of office next Wednesday.

Council Member P.G. Sittenfeld announced her selection Wednesday afternoon to replace Tamaya Dennard following her resignation from council last week.

Lemon Kearney is the president of Sesh Communication and the publisher of The Cincinnati Herald. She's also a licensed real estate agent and an attorney in private practice. Prior to starting a private practice, she was with Taft Stettinius and Hollister.

She was born in Cincinnati and graduated from Walnut Hills High School. She has a degree from Dartmouth College, and a Juris Doctorate from Harvard Law School.

"I learned the values that I have from Avondale," Lemon Kearney said. "The three that are most important to me are hard work, service and tenacity."

Lemon Kearney is married to former state senator Eric Kearney, who's now the head of the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky African American Chamber of Commerce.

She was one of several candidates Sittenfeld considered for the appointment.

Sittenfeld said he made the selection for several reasons.

"Her parents' hard work, and Jan-Michele's hard work, led her to graduate from Walnut Hills, and then to attend some of the finest institutions in the entire world - including Harvard Law School," Sittenfeld said in prepared remarks. "While Jan-Michele could have gone anywhere and done anything, she chose to return home and do good in this community. That boomerang arc particularly resonates with me.  She chose to come home to do good in the practice of law; as a volunteer for so many causes; and of course, with this city's award-winning black newspaper." 

Sittenfeld asked the community to "come together to lift up, embrace, and support" Lemon Kearney.

Dennard resigned after being arrested and federally charged with wire fraud, bribery and attempted extortion. She had designated Sittenfeld to select her replacement if her council seat became vacant for any reason.

Federal prosecutors alleged between August and December 2019, Dennard engaged in acts and attempted acts of bribery and extortion, offering to exchange her council votes for money.

Dennard denies the allegations.  She said she resigned to not become a distraction, and to focus her time on fighting the charges.

Just last week, Republican Betsy Sundermann was sworn-in to replace Amy Murray, who resigned to take a job with the U.S. Defense Department.

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Jay Hanselman brings more than 10 years experience as a news anchor and reporter to 91.7 WVXU. He came to WVXU from WNKU, where he hosted the local broadcast of All Things Considered. Hanselman has been recognized for his reporting by the Kentucky AP Broadcasters Association, the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, and the Ohio AP Broadcasters.