The election for Toledo City Council district seats is more than a year away, but a Sylvania Township resident declared his candidacy Tuesday night.
Gary Johnson, 59, an independent flooring contractor, announced to a fund-raising event of the Lucas County Democratic Hispanic/Latino Caucus at El Camino Real in West Toledo that he plans to run for Council District 3, which is made up of East Toledo and the Old South End.
The current councilman, Democrat Mike Craig, was first elected in 2006 and will be barred in 2015 from seeking another term under the city charter.
“They say in politics you can never start too early, so I’m starting tonight,” Mr. Johnson said.
He said he plans to move into a building on Morris Street near downtown he bought for his flooring business, which is now in another building on Morris. He said he moved his business from Sylvania seven years ago to show his commitment to the city.
Mr. Johnson, 59, a former member of the county Board of Elections, recently stepped down as chairman of the county Democratic Party’s central committee.
Mr. Johnson said he plans to renovate residential space in the new building for himself and his wife, Maureen, and daughter, Keisha. Mrs. Johnson and Keisha will stay in Sylvania Township until Keisha graduates, he said.
Mr. Johnson vowed to attack blight on Broadway by promoting small businesses. He said he would be a voice to “never let our police become immigration police.”
“We want them to be city police to protect our streets not peek through keyholes and try to figure out who’s undocumented and who isn’t,” he said.
Caucus president Lisa Canales said though Mr. Johnson is a valued member of the Hispanic community, the club can’t endorse outside the party, and the Democratic Party has not endorsed a candidate in the race. Mr. Johnson said his great-grandmother was Hispanic.