Don Gozdowski wants to be Toledo's next mayor for a big reason: to end world hunger.
"People are going to say, 'Well, another religious fanatic,' but I think we could take a stab at it," Mr. Gozdowski said. "We could try. I'd rather fail at trying to end world hunger than succeed at building a sports arena."
The Independent candidate, who lives at 3142 Franklin Ave., attended Woodward High School before quitting to join the Army in 1971. He later received his General Equivalency Degree.
He served as a tank mechanic in Germany before receiving an honorable discharge as a Pvt. 2 in 1973 and returning to Toledo.
He later received an online bachelor's degree in theology from the Theological University of America and said he is an ordained minister with the Echo Meadows Church of Christ in Oregon.
Currently a painting contractor, Mr. Gozdowski said he is a common, blue-collar man who can identify with the average Toledoan.
His ideas include turning the Marina District into a "KOA-type campground" for recreational vehicles, boaters, and motorcycles; busing senior citizens to Canada to save money on medications, and connecting Toledo's Promenade Park and The Docks restaurant row with a tram.
But his biggest idea includes turning One SeaGate, known as the O-I building, into "the world headquarters for famine relief," housing such organizations as The American Red Cross, Feed the Children, and World Vision International.
"The now-empty warehouses that dot our city would be bustling with activity ... You want job creation? We would have jobs coming out our proverbial ears," Mr. Gozdowski said.
This will be Mr. Gozdowski's first attempt at public office. "One day I woke up and said, 'I think I could be mayor.' Then I realized I could be a good one," he said. "A lot of these politicians, it's just a different face but the same old rhetoric. I think we got away from the 'common man' element in politics."
Mr. Gozdowski has turned in 1,141 signatures to the Lucas County Board of Elections to appear on the upcoming mayoral ballot. Of those, at least 750 must be validated.