Monday, Jul 23, 2018
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2 challengers set to take on mayor in Perrysburg

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Perrysburg residents have a mayoral primary in September, with three mayoral candidates vying for two spots in the November general election.

Incumbent Michael Olmstead is running against two former city councilmen in the nonpartisan primary: Tom Mackin and Jonathan Orser.

Mr. Mackin served on city council from 1998 through 2015.

“Perrysburg, I think, wants change,” Mr. Mackin said at his campaign kickoff event in June. “It wants a leader who has the temperament, experience, and commitment to this community to provide it with the leadership to go forward, to keep its small-town charm while continuing to grow into a community that has lots for the people who live here.”

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Mr. Orser served two separate stints on city council. The first, from 1986 through 1993, ended with an unsuccessful run for mayor. He ran in the next election and served from 1996-1998, when he was appointed to fill a mayoral vacancy through 1999. He lost a special election, and had thought he was done with government.

“I believe that local government, if effectively run is invisible,” he said.

He is running against the development along the banks of the Maumee River, discussed changes to the historic district, and the installation of roundabouts in the city, all of which he tied to the current administration.

“From everything I’ve seen, Mr. Olmstead is vulnerable,” he said. “The question is getting out the knowledge that there’s an election.”

Mr. Olmstead, who also served on city council from 2005 through 2013, is running primarily on what he has done during his first term as mayor, citing business growth, the development of Riverside Park, and the incoming second fire station.

“We have a lot of exciting things we’re going to build on that we haven’t even begun to talk about at length,” he said during his campaign kickoff event. “We’ve seen nothing yet. The next four years are going to be incredible.”

Since Mr. Mackin and Mr. Olmstead both have recent, long city council terms, both have claimed some amount of credit for the city’s current upswing. Improvements to the city were typically long in the works, so Mr. Mackin can claim much of the ground work for projects was laid by city council, while Mr. Olmstead says it was his decisive action that pushed projects from hypothetical to reality.

Mr. Mackin also supports an audit of the city’s administration, which he said has not happened since 2000, and a land use plan to make sure the city’s growth is managed well.

All three candidates for the part-time position, which pays $28,000 annually, have other careers — Mr. Olmstead is the owner and physical therapist at Fyzical Therapy and Balance Center, Mr. Mackin serves as general counsel for the Lucas Metropolitian Housing Authority, and Mr. Orser started Perrysburg Heritage LLC, a property management group that rents buildings in Perrysburg’s historic district.

All the candidates, and the general public, are invited to a candidate forum hosted by the League of Women Voters of the Perrysburg Area from 2-3 p.m. Aug. 20, at Way Public Library, 101 E Indiana Ave.

Contact Zack Lemon at zlemon@theblade.com419-724-6282 or on Twitter @zack_lemon.

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