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McConnell Hancock seeks a fresh image for Toledo

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McConnell Hancock

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Don't call Toledo "Slow-ledo" around Karyn McConnell Hancock. The City Council member can't stand the nickname.

"Toledo gets a bad rap in Ohio," she says. The perception of her hometown as a snail of a city irks her. "I want to change that, definitely."

Appointed, then elected to council in 2003, Mrs. McConnell Hancock is among the candidates for the six open at-large seats. The council's president pro tem says her work experience gives her an edge among the politicos.

"As an attorney, I can see how legislation affects people's lives," she says.

In the past two years, she has carved out the criminal justice niche for herself, chairing the Violence Against Women Act committee.

The group created a domestic violence report for police, which adds statements of all witnesses, descriptions of the scene, and photographs taken by the officers with new digital cameras.

The additional data make for better prosecutions, she says.

Of the issues facing council, hammering out a budget will be the first big challenge.

"We made such tremendous cuts last year," she says, adding they didn't reduce the public safety budget or institute a garbage collection tax, but those money-savers will "probably resurface."

Like most of the other candidates, she cites economic and downtown development, safety, and regionalism as major issues for the city to tackle in the next few years.

"We're realizing we can't do everything alone. It makes sense to pool our resources," she says of the need to team up with the suburbs. "It just makes sense."

As for the downtown, she wants to see the area become a destination, as it was during her childhood.

"I would like that to be a big thing - coming downtown on a Saturday afternoon for entertainment purposes," Mrs. McConnell Hanocock says.

Some ways to achieve that goal include more visible security to battle the perception that downtown isn't safe and adding incentives to keep businesses in the area.

Both would help keep activity in the district more consistent through the year, she says, which would entice people to come back.

She got into politics because "I thought the city needed young faces, young ideas," she says. "I wanted to help. I still want to continue to help."

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