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Latino candidates file for city-wide offices

By Kevin Milliken for La Prensa

Toledo, July 26, 2013: Lucas County Auditor Anita López may be the most high-profile among Latino candidates filing for city-wide office as she runs for mayor, but at least two incumbents quietly decided to seek re-election.

Ms. López rallied outside One Government Center with about 40 supporters on Wed., July 10, just before filing the signatures needed to run for mayor at the board of elections.

Anita López

She thanked more than 50 volunteers who went door-to-door circulating petitions and gathering signatures “so we can turn Toledo around and get it moving in the right direction.”

“We look forward to making things happen,” Ms. López told the crowd, many of them union members from Teamsters Local #20. “I’m a daughter of this community. I love this city. I look forward to a new vision for this city. A community without a future of employment is not a future.”

The Lucas County auditor, who previously served on the Toledo Public Schools (TPS) board of education and as Lucas County recorder, stated “working-wage jobs” would be her primary focus and plans to unveil an economic plan over the next nine weeks leading up to the Sept. 10 city-wide primary.

“We want jobs that a family can live on, jobs that a family can buy a home on, jobs that lift people up—much like a job that lifted me up when my father was working with union wages before he became disabled,” she said.

Ms. López also touted safer neighborhoods and responsive city government as two other major parts of her election platform.

“I will be the mayor that goes to block-watch meetings. I will be the mayor that meets with business and community leaders,” she said. “You will not hear from a director. You will hear directly from me on a city that will be in touch with you and responsive to you.”

While Ms. López has secured several union endorsements, she still will face a crowded ballot heading into the primary. At least six other mayoral candidates filed by last Friday’s deadline—including incumbent independent Mayor Mike Bell, Democratic Toledo City Council member Joe McNamara, independent Councilman Mike Collins, and other lesser-known political hopefuls. The top two vote-getters in the Sept. primary will then square off in the Nov. general election.


Toledo City Council vs. TPS

Two other Latino incumbent candidates quietly filed petitions to seek re-election.

Democrat Bob Vásquez admitted he considered a run for Toledo City Council before deciding education is still his true passion. He filed petitions to seek another term on the TPS board of education “because there are some things that remain undone” and others he wants “to see through to completion.”

“I think a quality school system is really the key to economic success,” said Vásquez.

The former school board president stated current board members need to stay in office in order to see the district’s transformation plan continue forward. However, current board of education member Larry Sykes has filed to run for Toledo City Council instead.

Adam Martínez

“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.


Copyright © 1989 to 2013 by [LaPrensa Publications Inc.]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 07/23/13 20:15:27 -0700.




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