Shannon G. Hardin was born and raised in Columbus. He attended Africentric K-8 and Columbus Alternative High School before receiving his letter of acceptance from Morehouse College in Atlanta. After college Shannon served as the External Affairs Manager, LGBTQ liaison, and was on the Religious Advisory Commission for the Office of Mayor Michael B. Coleman. Shannon provided a strong voice for the community to raise Columbus’s Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index from 82% to 100%. In addition to creating a more queer-inclusive city, Shannon developed programs around violence intervention (APPS), African-American wellness (AAMI), and anti-recidivism (Restoration Academy). Shannon was appointed to Council on October 7th of 2014 and subsequently won election in 2015 by more than 40 points.
Councilmember Hardin chairs the Public Service & Transportation Committee, the Small & Minority Business Development Committee, and the Neighborhoods Committee. In this position, he has laid the groundwork to promote equality in Columbus by leveling barriers to transportation, creating new opportunities for small businesses, and working to eliminate opportunity gaps for young men of color.
Councilmember Hardin believes that investing in our transportation infrastructure helps residents access jobs, education, and healthcare. After hearing from residents, Councilmember Hardin and Councilmember Michael Stinziano collaborated to create the sidewalk repair grant program for lower-or-fixed-income residents. For many disabled or elderly residents accessing social services and employment, as well as feeling apart of the neighborhood, requires a maintained sidewalk system. In addition to streets and sidewalks, Councilmember Hardin fought for Columbus to win the Smart Cities Challenge. With the $140 million grant, the Department of Public Service and Transportation is working with partners around Columbus to improve our transportation system by implementing smart technology on our public transportation lines, increasing electric car utilization, testing autonomous vehicles at Easton, and much more. Whatever this new technology brings, Councilmember Hardin will continue to push for a transportation system that works for all of us.
As Chair of the Small and Minority Business Development Committee, Councilmember Hardin has established partnerships around Columbus to connect small businesses, particularly those owned by women and minorities, with the training and capital that they need to thrive. He collaborated with Mayor Ginther to create the Office of Diversity and Inclusion to more effectively assist minority and women-owned businesses. The Councilmember is a steadfast proponent of Mayor Ginther’s disparity study, which will provide the foundation to increase the City of Columbus’s small, minority, and female-owned business utilization. Understanding the racial disparities that impact communities of color every day, Councilmember Hardin worked with former Mayor Coleman to create Columbus’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative. My Brother’s Keeper, housed in the Department of Neighborhoods, aims to reduce the opportunity gaps for young men of color through city-wide goals, service provider coordination, and collective action.
Councilmember Hardin serves on the boards of Columbus Franklin County Housing Advisory as well as the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission. Hardin has been recognized by Columbus Alive as a person to watch, Columbus CEO as an Up and Comer, by City Pulse as a Young Professional to Know, and by Who’s Who in Black Columbus as an Interesting Personality of 2014. Councilmember Hardin is a proud member of the Mount Olivet Baptist Church and lives with his partner Ben and their dog Bella.