Fedor won’t seek Szollosi’s seat

Ohio legislator to stay in 45th;Dems want applicants for 46th

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  • COLUMBUS — Dual residency or not, state Rep. Teresa Fedor (D., Toledo) has opted to avoid a game of musical chairs in the Ohio House and stay put in the 45th District.

    Although caucus election to the vacancy created by the resignation of Rep. Matt Szollosi (D., Oregon) in the neighboring 46th District was probably hers for the taking, she said Friday she will not ask her Democratic colleagues for the job.

    But she said she thinks she was on sound legal footing to make the case she has kept dual residency — in her East Toledo rented home in the 45th and the South Toledo home she owns in the 46th. The Ohio Constitution requires a legislator live in a district at least a year before the election.

    “It’s a unique situation,” she said. “I thought it would be confusing to voters, so I decided to remain in my current House district. …It’s the nature of this profession. It’s not surprising there are these twists and turns.”

    The House Democratic caucus will take applications for someone to finish the 13 months left in Mr. Szollosi’s term. Resumes may be sent to Keary McCarthy, House minority chief of staff, 77 S. High Street, 14th Floor, Columbus, OH 43215.

    A screening committee will review resumes, conduct interviews, and make a recommendation to the Democratic caucus.

    It is expected to act quickly, considering key votes lie ahead this month on the budget and other issues before lawmakers recess for the summer.

    The 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.

    “It’s too soon for anybody to show a lot of interest,” said Ron Rothenbuhler, chairman of the Lucas County Democratic Party. “I found out about [Ms. Fedor’s] decision [Thursday] afternoon, and my phone has not been ringing off the hook today.”

    Names mentioned as potential contenders include Oregon City Councilmen James Seaman, Michael Sheehy, and Tom Susor; Maumee City Councilman Jenny Barlos, and Toledo City Councilman Adam Martinez.

    Ms. Fedor made the move to the 45th and was elected representative last year after Republicans redrew the 46th District, putting both her and Mr. Szollosi in it.

    “It’s unfortunate that term limits put elected officials in these positions,” Ms. Fedor said. “This was the first time this has happened with term limits and redistricting. When someone is in their last term, they’re looking at what’s going to happen next.”

    The 45th consists of portions of North, East, and West Toledo; Washington Township, and one Toledo-surrounded precinct in Sylvania Township.

    “I respect Teresa Fedor’s decision,” Mr. Szollosi said. “At this point, there are a number of very capable people who would serve the district well. The caucus has a thorough vetting process, and that process will be followed.”

    Mr. Szollosi is leaving his leadership position, House seat, Oregon, and his Toledo law practice to move to Columbus to become executive director of the Affiliated Construction Trades of Ohio, a new advocacy group for skilled trades.

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