Column: The politician slim down challenge

This week’s column in The Cincinnati Post is a light-hearted look at a friendly bet among a few politicians – and maybe more – to see who can lose the most weight. It costs $50 to get in on the contest.

Hamilton County Commissioner David Pepper took some very funny and good-hearted jabs at fellow Democrat and Cincinnati City Council Member Jeff Berding about the contest and who would end up winning. I wish I could have printed them all. It gave me a good chuckle.

And it appears, as Pepper noted, that Leslie Ghiz, who originally wanted to be a part of the bet, may be the smartest of all of them. When she found out she had to post her weight on a board in Berding’s office in Cincinnati City Hall, she declined. Coupled with my writing about it, Pepper said she might have been the smartest of all of them.

Very funny stuff, indeed.

Now, I wonder if Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory will start a see-who-can-gain-the-most-weight contest. The number one comment I hear from people after they meet him: “He’s so skinny.” (Mallory often jokes about being the youngest of six children and having to fight to get scraps at the dinner table. It’s also known that he takes his eating seriously and gets agitated if he’s left hungry for too long.)

By the way, Pepper invited me to join the bet. Up to that point I had not suggested I was interested in partaking, which may be further testament to my unfitness. I have never been told I was out of shape in a more round about way. Uh, thanks, David. My wasting of $50+ monthly to the YMCA of Greater Cincinnati may now have to be better utilized.

I have not decided on my participation, but may have one obstacle to partaking in the fun: Getting into Berding’s office. I’ll leave it at that.

Author: Joe Wessels

Joe Wessels is a freelance journalist and photographer. Wessels covers local news events for Thomson Reuters news service and features for's Cincinnati Guide site, plus is the executive director of hyperlocal news site, He wrote for The Cincinnati Post, covering Cincinnati City Hall and Hamilton County government and wrote a weekly political column, which continued weekly at Cincinnati CityBeat. Previously, he was a reporter for the Cincinnati Business Courier and writes or has written for several publications in Cincinnati and around the country including The Cincinnati Enquirer, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Cincinnati Magazine, Cincy Magazine and the Sacramento News & Review. He is a native of Colerain Township, one of Cincinnati's western suburbs, and now lives in Over-the-Rhine near downtown Cincinnati. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and a journalism writing certificate from the University of Cincinnati. He also graduated from Colerain High School, is an avid photographer, news junkie and was once a roller rink disc jockey, and sometimes rides a scooter around town.

2 thoughts on “Column: The politician slim down challenge”

  1. Pingback:

Leave a Reply