COLUMBUS — This past week, past president of the Mayors Association of Ohio and former Sidney Mayor Mike Barhorst attended a reception hosted by the John Glenn School of Public Policy. He was an invited guest in appreciation for his nominating the mayors who attended the John Glenn School of Public Policy’s annual Public Leadership Academy. The John Glenn School of Public Policy is located at The Ohio State University.
The Public Leadership Academy is an intensive, one-week, residential program for Ohio’s rising state and local leaders. The program is designed to develop leadership and inspire citizenship. Those attending are nominated by state party leaders and organizations like the Ohio Municipal League, the Ohio Township Association, and the Ohio School Boards Association.
In part because of his travels across the state to meet with mayors, this is the second year Barhorst has been asked to recommend the mayors who are then invited to attend the program. Barhorst served as president of the Ohio Municipal League in 2019, and remains on the board of trustees of that organization. He recently concluded his term as president of the Mayors Association of Ohio.
“The Public Leadership Academy brings together a bipartisan group of rising Ohio elected officials to learn from each other,” Barhorst said in a press release. “In fact, I am tasked with recommending an equal number of Democrats and Republicans. As a result of working together during the program, the participants build lasting relationships across the aisle.”
“I’ve appreciated watching the growth among the participants that takes place during the week,” Barhorst noted. “The participants return to their hometowns with a better understanding of their colleagues and a renewed commitment to public service.”
The Public Leadership Academy includes township trustees, county commissioners, school board members, and members of the General Assembly. Programming for the week focuses on topics designed to create common ground. Among other topics, participants examine constituent engagement, media relations, leadership, crisis response and decision making.
However, because of the intensity of the week, differences play out. When those differences surface, they offer an opportunity to learn about perspectives other than one’s own.
The first American astronaut to orbit the earth, John Glenn went on to serve more than two decades in the United States Senate. Prior to his retirement from the United States Senate, Glenn donated his papers and memorabilia to The Ohio State University in conjunction with the formation at the university of the John Glenn Institute for Public Service and Public Policy (now the John Glenn School of Public Affairs).
Beginning with the first shipment of papers in December 1998, the university received approximately 2,000 cubic feet of materials documenting the careers of John Glenn as a military aviator, NASA astronaut, businessman, and U.S. Senator.
After retiring from the Senate, Glenn occasionally taught classes at the public policy institute. In addition to his papers, the institute holds other memorabilia from Glenn’s career including his U.S. Senate chair, a moon rock given to him by another Ohio astronaut, Neil Armstrong, and one of the joy sticks used to control Friendship 7. Glenn’s office at the institute is also maintained exactly as he left it.