COLUMBUS — Rep. Matt Szollosi (D., Oregon) has set a firm date for his departure from state government, shifting the focus to the Democrat who will replace him in the 46th House District.
Rep. Teresa Fedor (D., Toledo), who represents the neighboring 45th District, is considering moving back to the home she left after the Republican-controlled 2011 redistricting drew her and Mr. Szollosi into the same district.
But can she go back? The Ohio Constitution requires that state representatives and senators reside in their districts at least a year before the election.
Ms. Fedor said she has a legal opinion stating she has maintained dual residency — in the South Toledo home she still owns in the 46th and the East Toledo house she rents in the 45th. She declined to say who provided the opinion, but she said it did not come from the Ohio Legislative Services Commission or House Democrats.
“I’m listening to a number of things,” she said Monday. “It was a big decision to move [into the 45th]. Financially, it was a big decision to move as well.”
Although she represented the residents of both House districts when she served eight years in the Ohio Senate, she said she realizes there could be political fallout if she leaves the 45th after having been elected there just seven months earlier.
Ms. Fedor said she now stays in both places.
“I’m here and there both,” she said. “I’m a grandma, I baby sit.”
Lucas County Democratic Party Chairman Ron Rothenbuhler said no one else has been seeking the appointment.
“Teresa is trying to do that, if it’s legal,” he said. “What we’re talking about here, since [Toledo City Councilman] Lindsay Webb is in Point Place and talking about taking [Ms. Fedor’s seat], is screening for the vacant position [on city council].”
Mr. Szollosi, the term-limited number-two Democrat in the House, announced last month he was leaving his final term early to become executive director of the new Affiliated Construction Trades of Ohio, an advocacy group funded by several skilled trades groups. He will resign effective May 31.
“With the timing of the kids being completed with school and the house being sold, everything seems to be lining up,” said Mr. Szollosi.
His fellow House Democrats will pick his successor after a committee screens applicants.
“I strongly support Rep. Fedor if she decides that that’s the course she wants to take,” Mr. Szollosi said.
“When we were drawn into the same district through redistricting, she made the sacrifice of moving from her home. I understand her desire to go back home.”
The 46th stretches west from Jersusalem Township and Oregon through parts of East and South Toledo to pick up Maumee, Holland, and Springfield Township. The 45th consists of portions of North, East, and West Toledo, Washington Township, and one Sylvania Township precinct surrounded by Toledo.
In 2009, the Ohio Supreme Court determined that then-state Sen. Jon Husted, did not surrender his legal residency in a Dayton suburb for voting purposes just because he was living with his wife and children near Columbus.
The court cited the intention of Mr. Husted, now secretary of state, to return to his Kettering house once his tenure in Columbus was completed.
According to records from the Lucas County Board of Elections, Ms. Fedor was registered to vote through Nov. 28, 2011, at 2054 Belvedere Dr., precinct Toledo 7 D, in what is now the 46th District. Since then she’s been registered at 242 Willard St., precinct Toledo 19 D, in the 45th.
Contact Jim Provance at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 614-221-0496.
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