Thursday, Apr 26, 2018
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Wozniak and Olman rely on their experience

The race between Democrat Tina Skeldon Wozniak and Republican Lynn Olman pits an incumbent Lucas County commissioner against a longtime state representative.

But compared to the race between Lucas County Commissioner Harry Barlos and Toledo City Councilman Pete Gerken, the contest has been cordial.

Instead of attacking their opponent's weaknesses, Ms. Wozniak and Mr. Olman said they are relying on the strength of their records.

Ms. Wozniak, who has been a county commissioner for two years, said she believes she has done a good job. Mr. Olman, a state representative from Maumee, said he has developed strong contacts during his 10 years in the Ohio House that could help the county.

Two of the three Lucas County commission members face contested races on Nov. 2. County commissioners are paid $78,966 a year.

The commissioners oversee several agencies and departments, including the Workforce Development Agency, Emergency Management Agency, and dog warden's office.

Ms. Wozniak said she has several goals, including creating and retaining jobs, providing for safe neighborhoods, and maintaining a healthy environment for residents.

"That's how I'm spending my time," she said. "I'm not advocating for new expensive programs. The county can't afford that right now. I understand the issues."

Ms. Wozniak, who began her public career in 1997 as a member of the Toledo City Council, was chosen by the Lucas County

Democratic Party Central Committee in 2002 to fill the post vacated by the late Lucas County Commissioner Bill Copeland.

She noted her involvement in The Source, a one-stop career center recently opened by the county to help bring together workers with potential employers.

Ms. Wozniak said safety is another priority, an issue she has worked on by moving forward with the emergency communication system and pushing for a strong criminal justice budget.

She was the sole dissenter on the 2004 county budget that included substantial cuts to all departments, including the sheriff's and the prosecutor's offices.

"I'm aggressively working to meet the needs of the community," she said. "I'm not afraid to make the changes to get the county where we want it to go."

Mr. Olman, who owns an insurance agency in Maumee, was a Maumee City Councilman for 15 years before he was appointed to the Ohio House in 1995 to cover a district that encompasses much of western Lucas County.

After winning four consecutive elections, Mr. Olman, 57, was forced out because of term limits. His term will end Dec. 31.

Mr. Olman said he believes his state contacts will benefit Lucas County.

"Much of what the public sees [state representatives] do is introduce and pass legislation, but that's only about one-third of the job," he said. "The rest of the job is [in the district] or in Columbus, meeting with people and trying to solve their problems."

After 25 years in public service, Mr. Olman said he is confident he can help the county. He said he helped secure money from the state for major local projects, including Fifth Third Field, home field for the Toledo Mud Hens.

Job creation and retention are the biggest issues facing Lucas County, Mr. Olman said. It will be up to county officials to take a more aggressive lead in attracting employers to the area.

Mr. Olman said he has worked to ensure that insurance companies cover the costs of treatment for mental illnesses. He also pledged to help "de-politicize One Government Center."

"We as elected officials need to work together for the betterment of the community," he said. "We need to put our egos on hold and work toward common goals. I think people are ready for a change. They think there needs to be a change."

Contact Erica Blake at:

or 419-724-6076.

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