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Published: Saturday, 10/30/2004

Lucas County Commissioner: Olman vs. Wozniak

BY ERICA BLAKE
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Wozniak Wozniak
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The race between Democrat Tina Skeldon Wozniak and Republican Lynn Olman pits an incumbent Lucas County commissioner against a longtime state representative, both of whom believe the strength of their campaigns is based on their records.

Ms. Wozniak, 49, sees her job as a county commissioner centering on three goals: creating and retaining jobs, providing for a safe community, and maintaining a healthy environment for residents.

Ms. Wozniak, who has a college degree in social work, said these goals can be accomplished by making the right decisions at the county level.

The pair are fighting for one of two county commissioner seats on Tuesday's ballot.

County commissioners, who are paid $78,966 a year, oversee several agencies and departments.

Olman Olman
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"I know the people in our community. I know the issues," said Ms. Wozniak, a resident of Toledo's Old Orchard neighborhood. "I feel I have the pulse of the community."

The incumbent commissioner began her career in public service in 1997 on Toledo City Council.

In 2002, she was chosen by the Lucas County Democratic Party Central Committee to fill the post vacated by Bill Copeland, who retired.

Ms. Wozniak points to her involvement in opening The Source - a one-stop career center that brings together workers with potential employers - as one of her successes in economic development.

Safety is another priority for the lifelong Lucas County resident, an issue she said she has worked on by moving forward with the emergency communication system and by pushing for a strong criminal justice budget.

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

After winning four consecutive elections, Mr. Olman, whose term ends Dec. 31, was forced to consider another office because of term limits.

With 25 years of public service at the local and state level, Mr. Olman, who has a college degree in journalism, said he knows how to access government.

If he wins, Republicans will take control of the three-member board for the first time since 1977.

The only commissioner seat not up for election is held by Maggie Thurber, a Republican.

"One of the benefits is I get around all the operators in Columbus," said Mr. Olman, 57. "What I tell folks is that I can put you in touch with the person you need immediately."

Although recognizing that he is running as a Republican in a predominantly Democratic county, Mr. Olman said he has built a reputation at the state level as someone who represents the underrepresented.

He has worked to make sure that insurance companies cover the costs of treatment for mental illnesses. He also pledged to help "depoliticize One Government Center."

Contact Erica Blake at:

eblake@theblade.com

or 419-724-6076.



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