“I want to have some direct impact on what happens in Toledo, in our community, even nationally, in education. It’s so important to me,” he said. “I’ve been working with families and children for many years and this is just a continuation of that.”
Vásquez explained he can make a bigger impact on the school board rather than city council, because the board only has five members, as opposed to a dozen on council. He also wants to lend his expertise to more of an administrative body than a group of what he called “legislators.”
“That’s a big difference. I think you can have much more of an impact when you’re in more of an administrative position,” he said. “Even though there have been challenges, I constantly dream of an excellent school system that is part of an excellent city—and I think we can accomplish that.”
Current at-large councilman Adam Martínez also will seek another term. 17 other people also filed to run for Toledo City Council.
“I have helped to foster almost $5 million in small business micro-lending,” he said of an economic development program he championed two years ago. “We are about to unleash $60 million in job creation incentives in the next month or two. I just didn’t feel like we were done. We’re trying to bring jobs back into the neighborhoods.”
Martínez, council’s neighborhoods and community development committee chairman, stated there is plenty of unfinished business, citing it as the major reason he decided to run again. But he also emphasized he has no intention of “becoming a career politician.”
But the incumbent Democrat also wants the Latino community to continue to have representation on city council. He is the lone councilman of Latino descent, but at least two others are seeking at-large seats.
“I think having Latino representation is definitely important,” he said. “I think we all come from different walks of life and political ideologies. I try to represent as many of us in our community as I can. I try to be sure that every opportunity that comes our way, we at least have a seat at the table or a voice in the conversation. I’ve never shied away from hard decisions or getting involved in controversial issues. For too long, we’ve been a very quiet voice on council or in government in general.”
Republican challengers Alex Rivera and Alfonso Narvaez also filed petitions to run for Toledo City Council, where there will be two open seats in November.
Narvaez ran unsuccessfully during a special May election in 2011 for an open Fourth District city council seat as a 19-year old college student, then again that September for the same seat in an open primary. He finished third both times. Now 22, his Facebook page lists his current job as a sales associate for Home Depot.
During the 2011 campaign, Narvaez listed his primary political concerns as rising crime and run-down neighborhoods. However, a phone number listed with the board of elections was no longer valid and Narvaez could not be reached for comment.
The Lucas County Board of Elections must verify the signatures on all petitions before approving them for the Sept. primary ballot. During that process, Rivera fell four valid signatures short of making the Sept. ballot.