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Joel Arredondo has become the first Latino elected as Lorain City Council President
Nearly 10 thousand voters supported him at the polls

By Ingrid Marie Rivera, La Prensa Correspondent

LORAIN, Nov. 3, 2009: The first Latino to hold the Lorain city council president position will keep his seat as thousands supported him at the polls Nov. 3, 2009.

Joel Arredondo, of Mexican descent, was appointed to the position in 2008, and will hold the seat for at least two more years.

Elizabeth Soto, CHIP Treasurer; Joel Arredondo, Lorain City Council President; and his wife Joyce Ferlic-Arredondo.


Roughly 75 people gathered at the Mexican Mutual Society on election night to celebrate his success.

Among the guests were Lorain Mayor Anthony Krasienko, Lorain city school board member Jim Smith, Puerto Rican Home President Juan Silva, and Hispanic Fund President José Ramírez. The guests were treated to pastelillos, rice and beans, tamales, tacos, and burritos at the Club on Nov. 3, 2009.

Arredondo had a guaranteed seat as his opponent Steve Bansek withdrew long before voters made it to the polls for the primaries, but that did not stop the overwhelming support.

The number of people who turned out to the polls to support Arredondo reached 9,881, according to unofficial election results from the Lorain County Board of Elections.

“It’s fantastic,” said Arredondo “It’s a great honor, great privilege once again to receive this recognition,” he said.

Arredondo said it is time for more Latinos to occupy those public office seats.

“I think it’s something that is very well overdue,” Arredondo said “Just knowing the history of the Latino community in Lorain and once again I feel very honored and privileged to be the first one,” he said.

His wife, Joyce Ferlic-Arredondo, said she was very proud of her husband.

“The important thing is that he enjoys the position and being a part of promoting the city which we are both natives of,” she said.

This is Arredondo’s first elected public office position but he has for over 30 years been leading various cultural organizations that promote the Latino community—he has been a member of the Mexican Mutual Society for 30 years, 16 of which he has been president and continues the leadership role today; he has worked with the Coalition for Hispanic Issues and Progress (CHIP), and the Community Foundation of Lorain County’s Hispanic Fund since 2000.

He has also served as a director on the board of the Community Foundation since 2004. Arredondo was recognized with the 2009 Leadership Lorain County Difference Maker Award.

Several guests said his past leadership roles have made him the ideal candidate for this position.

Elizabeth Soto, who works closely with Arredondo, as she is the treasurer for CHIP, said in Spanish that she was happy and proud that a Latino with such great integrity and honesty would be elected to this position.

“Es para mi un orgullo saber que una persona latina, una persona con una integridad tan grande como la de Joel esté en este puesto, especialmente cuando es una persona honesta y lo considero una persona honesta. Merece este puesto y por eso estoy bién contenta,” Soto said.

Lorain Mayor Anthony Krasienko said he looks forward to continue working with Arredondo.

“I’m very pleased that Joel obviously has won this election and faced no opposition so he had enough respect from the community that he didn’t face opposition,” Krasienko said “I think that says a lot about Joel’s character and what he’s done for this community.”

His father, Apolinal Arredondo, was among the first wave of Mexicans to travel to Lorain, arriving in 1927. His mother, Eva, also of Mexican descent, traveled from Illinois to Lorain in 1923. Joel Arredondo is the third eldest of seven siblings and has two children: Andy, 23, and Mia, 21. 

“It’s such an honor and he wasn’t even looking for it. He was asked to do it (when appointed),” said his sister, Regina Arredondo, “My brother is so humble,” she said.

His daughter, Mia Arredondo, said she was pleased with the support her father received after helping him to fundraise for the campaign.

“We had a fundraiser here (at the Mexican Mutual) in February and just that had such a good turnout,” Mia Arredondo said “It makes me happy that so many came to support him.”

Although she is majoring in Sports Management she has not ruled out the possibility for following in her father's footsteps and running for public office one day.

But for now she is pleased with the support he has received within and outside the Latino community, she said.

“He has been involved mostly with cultural groups so to also be recognized outside the cultural organizations – that’s a big deal,” Mia Arredondo said.

Joel Arredondo said his priority is to improve the local economy. The city is working to possibly prevent the St. Joseph Community Center from closing at the end of this year and forcing its tenants to move. The center currently houses the Veteran’s Affairs Community Based Outpatient Clinic, a Lorain County Community College remote campus, the Multicultural Business Center, offices for U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Avon, and U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton, D-Copley Township, the Lorain Police Department Community Resource Office, the Neighborhood House Association, and the county’s auto title and passport office.

When asked if he plans to become the first Latino mayor of Lorain someday, Arredondo did not rule out the possibility, leaving it up to his constituents to decide, he said. But for now he said he plans to continue doing what he has done for the last year.

“We have a lot of great issues; we have a lot of great people who are involved,” Arredondo said “As long as they are there for the betterment of Lorain, that is what I believe is the point,” he said.


See La Prensa's video coverage of this event at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zT4LsQm0Hek


Joel Arredondo's relatives joined him for the celebration. Here is Mia Arredondo, his daughter, and Regina Arredondo, his sister.








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