Who will represent Toledo in Columbus?
Mayor Mike Bell has asked Toledo City Council to allocate approximately $60,000 of the general fund to hire a lobbyist to represent the city of Toledo TMs interests in Columbus. The proposal has met with some opposition.
The Bell administration contends that the city needs someone to look after its interests, seek funding opportunities, and track legislation for the city in Columbus. Others claim that Toledo has representation in Columbus in the form of the three state representatives and one state senator that Toledoans elected last November to represent them in the state capital.
Toledo has three representatives in the Ohio House of Representatives. State Rep. Matt Szollosi represents Ohio house district 49 which is comprised of north Toledo as well as the city of Oregon and Jerusalem Twp. Szollosi also serves as the assistant minority leader in the Ohio House which means he is the second most powerful Democrat in the chamber.
State Representative Michael Ashford represents Ohio House district 48 which is located in central Toledo. Ashford was elected to his first term in November 2010, meaning he is a freshman legislator. He has no previous legislative experience at the state level.
State Representative Teresa Fedor represents Ohio House district 47 which is comprised of south Toledo and west Toledo in a district that forms a crescent that wraps around Ashford TMs central city district. Fedor is a veteran legislator that served four previous terms in the Ohio House and two terms in the Ohio Senate before returning to the House of Representatives.
In Ohio, each senate district is comprised of three house districts. Toledo is entirely contained within Senate District 11 along with Oregon and Jerusalem Twp. and is represented by State Sen. Edna Brown. Like Fedor, Brown is a veteran legislator, having served four terms in the Ohio House before graduating to the senate.
City of Toledo finance director, Patrick McLean, claims that Toledo TMs elected representation in Columbus does not have adequate time to represent Toledo TMs interests in Columbus, McLean says they have other organizations, other jurisdictions, and other interests to represent. Others, such as Toledo city councilman Tom Waniewski, say that Toledoans are already paying for representation in Columbus in the form of the elected officials they send to the capital to represent their interests.
We want to know what you think. Are your state representatives and state senators representing you adequately in Columbus? Or, does the city need to hire an independent lobbyist to tell your representatives and senators what the city needs, to track legislation and make sure that elected officials are voting in the best interest of the city?