Tuesday, Jan 16, 2018
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New blood in local party better than old hacks

CTY-soulstothepolls

Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas, left, shakes hands with State Rep. Michael Ashford (D-Toledo) during a voting event in 2016. Mr. Ashford is proposing an idea to fill the vacant Lucas County treasurer spot, but it may serve fellow politicians more than the community.

The Blade/Amy E. Voigt
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Democratic Toledo Mayor-Elect Wade Kapszukiewicz is set to leave his current job as Lucas County treasurer. That will set off a cascading series of job changes for a cast of very familiar local political characters The problem is that Toledoans deserve better than the usual game of musical chairs.

State Rep. Michael Ashford (D., Toledo) is pitching one scenario — advocating that the Lucas County Democratic Party tap him to fill Mr. Kaszukiewicz’s seat as county treasurer. His seat in the General Assembly could then go to outgoing Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson, he figures.

Toledo City Councilman Lindsay Webb also would like to be appointed county treasurer, but Mr. Ashford has a plan that takes care of her too: Ms. Webb would run to succeed state Rep. Teresa Fedor (D., Toledo), who, like Mr. Ashford, is term-limited as the representative of House District 45. Ms. Fedor would run for the District 2 state Senate seat held by Edna Brown, who is term-limited. “All shall have prizes.”

The plan certainly would keep all the major players at the trough. Almost everyone would be taken care of. Except maybe constituents who ought to be able to expect party leaders to serve the community rather than just the politicians.

Mr. Ashford may be right when he says Ms. Hicks-Hudson would be a good representative for Toledo in the General Assembly. 

But two things are noticeably missing from the succession plans he has so carefully devised: The first is concern for the public and the second is any attempt to attract new blood to Toledo politics.

The same pols — all middle-aged or older — job hop, endlessly, from one public office to another. It is essentially self-dealing and no one new or young is added to the talent pool.

Shouldn’t a local political party stand for more than a sinecure for each of this season’s losers or term-limited perennials?

Democrats have just one member of their party in a statewide elected office in Ohio. Without a “bench” of up-and-comers from which to draw, this does not seem likely to change soon.

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