Who am I?
I am a Toledo native son, who always dreamt about serving in public office. I used my education as a chance to broaden my horizons and take my experience back to my hometown to help it become the best community it can possibly be.
I was first elected as an At-large Toledo City Councilman in 2006 and I have twice served as President of Toledo City Council. I was reelected in 2009 and was the top vote getter of any municipal candidate on the ballot, including the current mayor.
In order to make Toledo and Lucas county a better place for all people to live, I have worked hard as an outspoken Progressive champion and leader .
On Toledo City Council, I am a powerful ally of the LGBT community and have vocally fought for Marriage Equality. I support our police and firefighters and have fought to keep police and fire stations from closing, despite Governor’s Kasich’s budget cuts and Toledo Mayor Mike Bell’s support of Governor Kasich’s agenda. I have been a strong steward of the environment by creating a municipal solar field and increased recycling city-wide. I have also created hundreds of good, local jobs through the green energy economy.
In my private law practice, I have focused my legal practice to advance the public good. I am a staunch defender of at-risk women. My leadership led to significant changes to state law and local ordinances to fight the trafficking of women and girls, which has become far too prevalent in Toledo and across the country. I’ve also worked to keep people in their homes in foreclosure proceedings, fought slum landlords and ensured that the voting rights of all citizens are secure. In 2004, I was part of a legal team that successfully sued former Republican Secretary of State, Ken Blackwell for failing to fully implement the Help America Vote Act in Ohio. Because of our successful litigation, thousands of Ohio votes were saved from being thrown out.
I believe that by standing on these Progressive values and continuing to be a vocal, active leader in Toledo and across Ohio, I can help our communities become the very best they can be.
Why am I running?
Μy father had a large impact on my life even though I only knew him when I was young. Many years ago, he was on Toledo City Council and eventually became Lucas County Auditor. He was actually planning on running for Congress when we were in a tragic car accident together that took his life. While I only had the opportunity to know my father for six years, growing up I heard many stories about him from people whom he had helped in Toledo and across Lucas County. The memory of my father, as seen through the eyes of other Toledoans, helped shape my view as to what someone in elected office can do to serve others and better the community.
I am running for Mayor of Toledo because Toledo desperately needs to change. The same networks of “good old boys” are in positions of power year after year. My City is suffering from rising poverty rates, failing neighborhoods and a decline in programs and services that serve low-income individuals.
The Mayor of Toledo (Mike Bell) has taken a very trickle-down approach to economic development. He has endorsed Governor Kasich’s budget that raises taxes on the poor and gives tax breaks to the wealthy. Mayor Bell has also repeatedly blamed labor unions for the City’s economic woes and backed the ill-fated SB5, an attempt to reduce collective bargaining rights in Ohio.
Mayor Bell does not represent the people who live in Toledo. He is constantly traveling abroad, having made several trips to China, Europe next month, and a Middle Eastern trip is planned for next year. His travel companions include wealthy businessmen who usually live in affluent suburbs outside the urban core. Instead of focusing on the people who elected him, the state of our city, the need for more jobs in the central city, and the state of our public schools, he is enjoying the “celebrity” status of being Mayor.
1. Jobs are a top priority. The first thing I would do is hire a qualified economic development director to focus on promoting economic opportunities for the people who live in the City itself. The hire would be done after a thorough search and not be based on political contributions or connections.
2. Re-open the Northwest District Police Station. Mayor Bell has attempted to close neighborhood police and fire stations. But having neighborhood police and fire stations are something the City can do, not only to promote public safety, but serve as neighborhood anchors and hence strengthen neighborhoods. I will constantly be striving to do things that promote neighborhoods of choice where people want to move to instead of away from – and this pro-neighborhood agenda would begin with reopening this police station.
My DFA Values
Community – My campaign will be focused on people, strengthening our neighborhoods, and creating economic opportunities for the people who live in the City of Toledo. The best thing anyone can do to help a community is focus on raising the median income of its residents. If more Toledoans are working and/or earning more, homeownership rates increase as does the tax base.
Security – My track record just as a City Councilman has included building a municipal solar field to power our water-treatment plant and helping to create the Northwest Ohio Advanced Energy Corporation. This non-profit entity helps fund energy-efficiency building upgrade projects that have created hundreds of green jobs and reduced our carbon footprint. As Mayor I will continue to push for sustainable policies that reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and foreign energy sources. Toledo, Ohio has been ranked as one of the best places in the country for solar-panel manufacturing. I will build on this core competence and work to expand markets for clean energy.
Liberty – I consider the biggest civil rights issues our day to be marriage inequality. I have been a strong straight-supporter of LGBT rights. On City Council I passed Toledo’s domestic partnership registry, which ultimately led to the City offering domestic partner benefits. I have also publicly endorsed the Freedom to Marry Amendment to the Ohio Constitution, which would reverse the DOMA amendment passed in 2004 (as a ploy to drive turnout for George Bush over John Kerry).
My Campaign is People Powered!
1. Before deciding to enter the race we held a city-wide listening tour in all 9 areas of Toledo. The listening tour turned out hundreds of Toledoans who are all concerned with the future of our City and the direction that it is going.
2. I have an incredible volunteer base. Many people are literally volunteering multiple hours every day to help me win this race and more are signing-up every day. Our campaign is dedicated to growing this volunteer base through community events, social media and door-to-door canvassing.
3. I am dedicated and committed to a strong grassroots field campaign. Direct voter contact is my top priority to ID and GOTV the votes I need to win. I have strong support across the entire city and have proven a track record – in 2009 I was re-elected city-wide with the most votes of any municipal candidate, outpacing the current mayor by more than 1,500 votes.