Two Toledo City Council members are making their first bids for countywide office on Tuesday, running to fill the position of Lucas County treasurer.
Wade Kapszukiewicz, 32, a Democrat, and Betty Shultz, 74, a Republican, are vying to succeed Democrat Ray Kest.
Mr. Kest chose not to seek re-election after an investigation by The Blade found he used taxpayers' dollars to pay for his tuition, books, and hotel rooms in connection with his graduate studies at Cleveland State University. A special prosecutor was appointed to probe the expenses.
The Ohio Auditor's Office recently issued a report stating the expenditures - a total of nearly $17,000 when mileage expenditures were added by auditors - were improper and must be repaid.
The spending practices and political legacy of Mr. Kest, who has held the office since 1985, have been among the topics that Mr. Kapszukiewicz and Mrs. Shultz have sparred over.
Mr. Kapszukiewicz said he would dismantle Mr. Kest's "political machine" and uses the campaign slogan, "Integrity for a change." He has charged that Mrs. Shultz is being backed by Mr. Kest.
Mrs. Shultz, formerly a Democrat, endorsed Mr. Kest for mayor in 2001 and has said the treasurer's office runs effectively. But she said she does not approve of his personal actions.
In fact, Mrs. Shultz said Mr. Kest should not only repay the money, he should resign as soon as the election results are certified rather than serve out his term, which runs until September, 2005.
The county treasurer, who is paid $64,975 a year, collects more than $400 million a year in property taxes.
Mr. Kapszukiewicz has called for the use of tax lien auctions to collect as much as possible of an estimated $22 million in delinquent real estate taxes. Mrs. Shultz has rejected the use of tax lien auctions as "outsourcing."
Both Mrs. Shultz and Mr. Kapszukiewicz tout their experience on school boards and Toledo City Council's finance committee as preparation for running the county treasurer's office.
Mrs. Shultz graduated from Libbey High School and attended Stautzenberger College. She worked for Ohio Bell and the Lucas County Building Regulation Department.
She was elected in 1975 to the Washington Local Board of Education and served 18 years before being elected to represent Toledo City Council's District 5 in 1993. Four years later, she was appointed to fill an at-large vacancy on council and was elected to the seat later that year.
Mr. Kapszukiewicz, the son of a Toledo police officer, was 26 when he was appointed to City Council in 1999. He graduated from St. Francis de Sales High School in 1990 and Marquette University in Milwaukee in 1994. He has a master's degree from the University of Michigan in public policy.
He is a part-time consultant for Compass, an addiction treatment agency. He led the establishment last year of the Northwest Ohio Pharmacy Card Network that provides discounts on prescription drugs.
Mr. Kapszukiewicz was elected in 1995 to the Lucas County Educational Service Center, which serves the Washington, Springfield, Ottawa Hills, and Anthony Wayne local school districts.
After his appointment to the District 6 seat in 1999, he held onto the position in a special election later that year.
He won re-election in 2001 and 2003.
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