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Published: Wednesday, 6/26/2013

Sheehy set to complete Szollosi’s House term

BY JIM PROVANCE
BLADE COLUMBUS BUREAU CHIEF

COLUMBUS — Oregon City Councilman Mike Sheehy will raise his right hand today to take the oath as Lucas County’s newest member of the Ohio House of Representatives, having been picked by his future Democratic colleagues to replace Matt Szollosi.

He will complete the 18 months left in Mr. Szollosi’s term, arriving the final week of legislative action before the chamber recesses for the summer.

The move will keep control of the 46th District in the city of Oregon, despite the district’s westward geographic shift in the latest redistricting.

“My service will be a continued commitment to good government and first-class services with respect to everything from roads to education and funding for programs that are dear to taxpayers,” Mr. Sheehy said. “I have enormous respect for the Ohio legislature and the legislative process.”

A retired CSX Transportation railroad conductor and a University of Toledo graduate, Mr. Sheehy is in his ninth term on council. The House Democratic Caucus is expected to ratify the recommendation of a screening committee today before he is sworn into office.

One of his first votes will be on the state’s next two-year budget.

Four others were interviewed in person for the seat—Oregon City Councilman Jim Seaman; Maumee City Councilman Jenny Barlos; and retired East Toledo firefighter Bob Wuest.

Also expressing interest were James Snodgrass Jr., a global program buyer for Ford Motor Co. and former Lucas County Planning Commissioner, and Oregon City Counciman Tom Susor. They were interviewed by phone.

The revamped 46th stretches from Jerusalem Township and Oregon in eastern Lucas County through parts of East and South Toledo to pick up Maumee, Holland, and Springfield Township to the west.

“I know Mike will be a tireless champion of policies to benefit middle-class Ohioans…,” said Rep. Michael Ashford (D., Toledo), who sat on the committee that screened the applicants. “It was a difficult selection process with highly qualified applicants.”

House Minority Leader Tracy Heard (D., Columbus), said Mr. Sheehy will be a “passionate advocate for working women and men across northwest Ohio.”

“There is a reason he has been such a successful public servant,” she said. “He is a talented and accomplished individual.”

Mr. Szollosi stepped down as of May 31 and moved from the Toledo area to Columbus to become executive director of the Affiliated Construction Trades of Ohio, a new advocacy group for skilled trades.

Democrats are outnumbered 60-39 by Republicans in the House.

Rep. Teresa Fedor (D., Toledo), who represents the neighboring 45th District, had considered asking for the appointment herself. She moved to the 45th last year after Republicans drew her and Mr. Szollosi into the same revamped 46th District.

Although she was armed with a legal opinion that she had maintained residency in both districts, she decided not to seek the appointment, saying that might be too confusing for voters.

Contact Jim Provance at: jprovance@theblade.com or 614-221-0496.


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