Democrat Joe McNamara was sworn in yesterday as an at-large member of Toledo City Council, taking a seat he won through a hard-fought and costly campaign against five opponents.
Mr. McNamara, 29, replaced appointed Councilman Lourdes Santiago, who lost her bid for the seat in a special election Nov. 7. Retired Ohio Supreme Court Justice Andy Douglas administered the oath.
"This is an overwhelming day for me," Mr. McNamara said. "I come from a long line of public servants, and I'm going to give it my all, and look forward to working with everyone, all parties and political factions, to move our city in the best direction possible."
A lawyer whose father, the late Dan McNamara, was a councilman in the 1970s before becoming Lucas County auditor, Mr. McNamara took on the Lucas County Democratic Party to win the seat. Ms. Santiago was endorsed by Mayor Carty Finkbeiner and the party.
Mr. McNamara thanked Ms. Santiago and noted her campaign proposals to have the city adopt more environmentally friendly practices.
The county Board of Elections voted earlier in the day to certify the results of the election. Mr. McNamara takes over the unexpired term of Democrat Bob McCloskey, who resigned in May to face bribery charges in state and federal court. McCloskey was convicted and is serving a 27-month prison sentence.
Because Mr. McNamara replaces a staunchly pro-Finkbeiner council person in Ms. Santiago, he is seen as likely to change the political dynamics on council, now headed by Republican Rob Ludeman.
But council members steered away from political issues to celebrate Mr. McNamara's swearing-in during a reception in council's offices on the 21st floor of Government Center.
In other action during its meeting yesterday, council approved a special-use permit for the Maritime Academy of Toledo charter school to occupy a building at 46 South St. Clair St. in the Warehouse District.
The vote was 11-1, with Councilman Frank Szollosi casting the no vote.