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Miami professor elected mayor of Oxford

By Emily Williams, Assistant News Editor

Miami professor Kate Rousmaniere has been elected as Oxford's new mayor. Rousmaniere, who received the position in a unanimous vote at the Dec. 1 City Council meeting, will be serving alongside councilmember Mike Smith, Oxford's newly-elected vice mayor. Smith is an interior designer with Miami's Planning, Architecture and Engineering Department.

Former mayor Kevin McKeehan will continue to serve on the City Council.

After she and Smith were sworn in, Rousmaniere took a moment to thank McKeehan before leading her first council meeting.

"I don't want to do anything without thanking the former mayor Kevin McKeehan who's been a role model of steady leadership and friendly leadership, community engagement…and working together," said Rousmaniere. "It's because of Kevin that I was interested in running for mayor."

Rousmaniere has been a resident of Oxford since 1992. She is a professor in Miami's Educational Leadership department and specializes in the social foundations of education, the history of American education, women educators and the history of teachers and teacher unions.

As a Miami professor, one of the strengths Rousmaniere thinks she brings to the job is her ability to facilitate good "town-gown" relationships - interactions between the university and the Oxford community.

"The relationship between Oxford and the university is very good, and it's going to get better," said Rousmaniere.

For the past four years, Rousmaniere has served on Oxford's City Council, first as a councilor and, for the past two years, as vice mayor. Before her career in local government, she was highly involved in the Oxford community, serving on the board of the Family Resource Center and volunteering with the Oxford Senior Center.

"I want to get to know all parts of the community even more and encourage more people to be involved in the local government," Rousmaniere said.

Among the items on the agenda for her term is an upcoming zoning study that she said will help define the ways in which Oxford develops. The study will include any issues with student housing.

"It will help us as a community to have a better sense of control about what we want," she said.

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The city currently is in need of more senior and moderate income housing, Rousmaniere noted.