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La Liga de Las Americas

Taylor Balderas appointed to District 3 council seat

Analysis by Alan Abrams
La Prensa Senior Correspondent


Toledo’s City Council made history Jan. 17th by appointing Taylor Balderas to fill the vacant District 3 seat, making the 22-year-old Latina the youngest woman to ever serve on council.


The Balderas appointment retains council with at least one Latino/a member after the departure of Louis Escobar, who opted not to seek re-election.


The selection was rapid, with the final vote tally completed by 4:20 PM, much to the dismay of many news media outlets including La Prensa, which arrived just after the voting. 


Will the appointment of Balderas help heal the Democrats’ rift?

But will the 8-2 vote, which saw two Democrats not voting for her appointment, really help heal the party’s rift between the A-team and B-team factions, which was exacerbated on Jan. 3rd when two B-team Democrats (Mark Sobczak and Bob McCloskey) bolted the party to elect a Republican as council president?


John Irish, chairman of the party’s screening committee, believes it will. At least that’s what he told The Blade according to its published report.


Let’s look at the vote. Democrats voting for Balderas were A-teamers Wilma Brown, Phil Copeland, Ellen Grachek, and Frank Szollosi, and B-teamer Sobczak; they were joined by three Republicans, council president Rob Ludeman, George Sarantou, and Betty “I’m just an innocent conduit” Shultz.


A-team Democrat Michael Ashford was absent for the vote. 


B-teamer McCloskey, whose seat Balderas is filling at least through the May 2 special election for the two years remaining in the term, voted for Joann Vanderpool, his longtime campaign treasurer. He also wanted his former seat to be filled by an Eastsider. He was joined in that vote by Republican Joe Birmingham.


The Balderas vote was later made unanimous.


Earlier, Democrat Robert Wuest, a retired Toledo firefighter, withdrew from Tuesday’s race but told The Blade he would be a candidate in the May 2 special election.


Democrat Mary Ward has also shown an interest in running for this office—Ward lives on the East Side and is the sister of the beloved Judge Joseph A. Flores


Balderas received the official imprimatur of both Mayor Carty Finkbeiner and the Lucas County Democratic Party for the council vacancy which opened when the previous incumbent, embattled councilman McCloskey, moved on to an at-large seat.


Balderas is a graduate of Bowling Green State University. This is her first run for political office.   







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