New candidate Celusta announces bid for District 2 seat

Councilman Cherry officially files petitions to run

  • CTY-Joe-Celusta

    Joe Celusta

  • Matt Cherry, with family, files petitions to run for the Toledo City Council Council District 2 seat today at One Government Center.
    Matt Cherry, with family, files petitions to run for the Toledo City Council Council District 2 seat today at One Government Center.

    A new candidate for Toledo City Council District 2 announced his bid for the May 6 election today in front of a failed South Toledo hotel, while appointed Councilman Matt Cherry filed his petitions to run for the seat.

    Republican Joseph Celusta, 50, of 4472 River Rd., a businessman who is currently unemployed, invoked his grandfather, the late Aloysius "Ollie" Czelusta, who was mayor 1950-51 and 1954-57.

    PHOTO GALLERY: Click here for photos from when the candidacy announcements

    "I plan to use my experience in upper management at True North Energy and know-how as a former small business owner to make Toledo a better place not just for bureaucrats and politicians but the citizens and over-regulated businesses that reside in the city," said Mr. Celusta. He said he left his job when the company relocated to the Cleveland area.

    "Toledo has went from the one of the largest cities in the world with a bright future to a city in need of help because of a decades of poor leadership since my grandfather's administration in the 1950s," Mr. Celusta said.

    Joe Celusta
    Joe Celusta

    Mr. Celusta ran unsuccessfully for city council at-large in 2013, winning in the primary, but coming in 12th in the contest for six seats.

    Mr. Cherry, 33, filed signature petitions to get his name on the ballot. Mr. Cherry, an elected business agent of Sheet Metal Workers Local 33, was appointed in January to the seat that was vacated when former Councilman D. Michael Collins was sworn in as mayor.

    He was accompanied by his wife, Nicole, their 3-year-old son, MJ, Mr. Cherry's mother, Kathy Riker, a retired city police officer, and his mother-in-law, Deb McClellan.

    "We face many challenges in District 2, from fixing our streets to keeping local businesses strong and residents employed. My job is to make sure my fellow District 2 citizens' voices are heard at Government Center," he said.

    "As a son of a retired Toledo policewoman, I understand that safety is a top priority in our neighborhoods," he said.

    He said he is "hoping to keeping the ball rolling on the Reynolds Road corridor" by encouraging investors to look at the former Southwyck shopping center site and other locations. He said his volunteer activities have included Habitat for Humanity, the James M. Schoonmaker Museum Ship restoration, and a golf outing benefit St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and Juvenile Diabetes.

    Today at 4 p.m. is the deadline to file petitions to run in the special election.

    Independent candidate Marcia Helman, 63, owner of the Lickity Split ice cream parlor, Walbridge Park Member, and former city arts liaison has already announced and been certified to the ballot.

    Robert Vasquez, 61, a Democratic member of the Toledo Board of Education, director of a nonprofit social agency, and member of the Toledo Zoo board, filed petitions Wednesday and is expected to be considered for certification to the ballot along with Mr. Celusta and Mr. Cherry at an elections board meeting scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday.

    Early voting begins on Tuesday at 1946 N. 13th St. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays until May 2, until 9 p.m. on April 7, and until noon on May 3.

    Contact Tom Troy at: or 419-724-6058 and on Twitter @TomFTroy.