Learning while serving: New councilmen want to help Kent community

By Diane Smith Record-Courier staff writer Published:

After less than a month in office, Kent councilmen Dan Kamburoff and Michael DeLeone are learning the little things that come with the territory. These things include knowing when to wear a tie _ standard attire at the regular council meetings, but not on committee nights _ as well as not being afraid to ask questions, and most of all, as fellow council member Ed Pease told them as their teacher in the Kent schools years ago, doing their homework. "I was never very good in school _ Mr. Pease can attest to that _ but I have learned that you have to do your homework," said Kamburoff, who, like DeLeone, started his term Jan. 1. Veteran councilman William Schultz also returned to council after a two-year absence. DeLeone said he is learning to ask questions, adding there are some things even his senior council members don't understand completely. "I think that's why there's nine of us," he said. "We all have different interpretations on things." Kamburoff, 49, is owner of Kamburoff's Farm Market and has worked for many years in farming and building construction. He has scaled back his building business because of the demands of the farm market, but continues to sell pole buildings. He once farmed more than 450 acres of leased property, but now that most of that land has been turned into housing developments in the area, he now works only on the original family farm where he grew up. "The reason I do it is the reason people climb mountains," he said. "Because it's there." He and his wife, Julia, have been married 16 years. He is the father of daughters, Mary, a graduate of Kent State University, and Susan, who works for a local insurance company. DeLeone, 38, has been an equipment operator at KSU for 17 years, driving the university's trucks, backhoes and tractors. He and his wife of 13 years, high school sweetheart Carmella, have an 8-year-old son, Victor. He is actively involved in his son's sporting events, coaching little league baseball and taking him to his practices. So why would these down-to-earth family men want to get involved in politics? "I don't like to think of it as getting into politics," Kamburoff said. "I like to think of it as community service." DeLeone said he got involved to increase his own awareness of the community. "I found I didn't know what was going on in Kent," he said. "That kind of bothered me. I thought one of the ways to inform myself is to get involved in council or one of the boards." The new councilmen are turning their attention to everything from long-range planning to soliciting public input. "We need to get a long-range plan," DeLeone said. "The university has a long-range plan. We need to look at all the streets and sidewalks and see what needs to be done." Kamburoff said council needs to seek public input to prioritize the wants and needs of residents. "I'm here to do the best job I can and vote with my best intentions and feeling of my heart, but I'm also here as a representative of the citizens of Kent."

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