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Published: Friday, 5/2/2003

Democrats tap 2 first-timers as candidates

BY FRITZ WENZEL
BLADE POLITICAL WRITER

The Lucas County Democratic Party's executive committee tapped two more first-time candidates to run for seats in local elections this fall.

That brings to six the number of Toledo candidates with no experience that the party will put onto the ballot this year.

But Paula Ross, chairman of the party, pointed out last night that while they have never run for office before, the candidates are not new to politics. “These are people who have worked with us,” she said, “and know what we expect of candidates.”

“It's a lot of new candidates, yes,” Ms. Ross added. “The first reason is, the people who have run before have won, and now we have these opportunities.”

Christy Cole, 26, a lawyer in private practice, was endorsed to run against incumbent Republican Rob Ludeman in Toledo council District 2.

“Toledo has a lot to offer. I love Toledo,” she said. “I have stayed here because I want to help Toledo grow. It's a great place to raise a family, and there are lots of opportunities here. You could go to a bigger city and start at the bottom, or you could stay here.”

Democrats endorsed Deborah Barnett, 53, the community relations officer at Huntington National Bank, to run for an open seat on the Toledo Public Schools Board of Education. Ms. Barnett is now a member of the oversight committee that is supposed to act as a watchdog for the reconstruction or renovation of the schools in the Toledo district.

She said she will resign her seat on that committee.

“This is an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of Toledo's children,” Ms. Barnett said. “I have worked with the school system before, and I look forward to this opportunity.”

She said she believes Toledo students will improve their classroom performance if district leaders succeed in “exploring ways we can add creativity” to their education.

She is running for the board of education seat that will be vacated by Terry Glazer at the end of the year.

Ms. Barnett, a past chairman of the Toledo Board of Community Relations, won the endorsement over Steve Steel and John “Bulldog” Rust.

Ms. Cole and Ms. Barnett join three Toledo councilmen - Ellen Grachek, Frank Szollosi, and Karyn McConnell - and Toledo court clerk candidate Vallie Bowman-English as first-timers on the ballot.

A nonpartisan primary election is set for Sept. 9 for the council races. The two top finishers in each race will advance to the Nov. 4 runoff election.

Bernadette Noe, chairman of the Lucas County Republican Party, said she expects to announce candidates for the Toledo school board next week. The filing deadline to enter the races is in July.



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