Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Happy Holidays & More Posting

Wednesday pushed Sofia and I carried Lucas the length of the 2006 Holiday Parade. Nice work by CitiFest and the Downtown Improvement District, along with the City of Toledo and all the sponsors, volunteers, participants and all the families that came out on such a beautiful Saturday morning to watch it. We had a great time and ate at Tony Packo's afterward.

Expect more posting here and on my companion site, Szollosi

Also, check out an interesting new Toledo-focused site developed by Chris Myers, Ideas for Toledo. I like it.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Reflections on 2006

It feels as though many of my friends and I have been working much of our adult lives to steer Ohio back on a better course - away from ever escalating college tuition and the wasting of federal job training dollars; away from ruthless GOP tax policies that takes from the poor and middle class and gives to the wealthiest among us; away from a corporate hollowing-out of Ohio's public schools; ultimately, away from the likes of Tom and Bernadette Noe and the politicians who gladly accepted money laundered from Ohio's injured workers.

It was from Toledo and Northwest Ohio that our cause was given great lift, from a clean take off to the almost perfect landing last Tuesday. For the roles they played, I'd like to express public thanks:

Kudos to the investigative journalism of The Blade, and to the media & journalists who followed. It should be recognized that both members of labor and management (thank you both) at The Blade worked together to break the national story of Tom and Bernadette Noe and the politicians they financed with dirty money. The story changed the political dynamics in Ohio very rapidly. It is a public service that will stand in history as one of our local newspapers' greatest contributions to truth and justice. (Respect also to Prosecutor Julia Bates and deputies Weglian, Lingo and the numerous others who expertly brought Mr. Noe to justice, as well as to Judge Tom Osowik for his judicial skills, decorum, timeliness, and his firm hand - finally, thanks to the jury who sat through the trial, weighed the evidence and dispensed justice.)

Kudos to Marcy Kaptur for her role in helping Democratic Congressional candidates pick up the seats necessary to reclaim the House of Representatives - and to those who helped Sherrod Brown travel from a House minority to a Senate majority.

Kudos to Tracy Sabetta in Columbus and public health advocates across our state and country who scored a historic public health victory with the success of Issue 5. The number of lives it will save and the money it will save in the years ahead for businesses and families is incalculable.

Kudos to the candidates and activists in Ottawa, Erie, Huron, Sandusky and Seneca counties - with whom I had the honor of working closely with the past several months as we contacted voters on the phone and on their front porch with our message of change. Ted Strickland & Lee Fisher, Sherrod Brown, Marc Dann, Richard Cordray, Jennifer Brunner and other state candidates carried these counties and towns there such as Fremont, Tiffin, Norwalk, Sandusky, and Port Clinton. It has been a long time since these red counties voted blue - and the credit belongs to the people there: Amy Grubbe in Erie who also swept county offices with aggressive, optimistic campaigns by Bill Monaghan and Tom Paul. Jodi Regal in Ottawa with great help from ODP Chair and State Rep. Chris Redfern's team led by a hellofa operative on the rise, Seth Bordner. Barb Marley from Fostoria, who was blessed to have scores of capable Democrats like Tiffin attorney Jim Fruth and Tiffin University VP Mike Grandillo. In Sandusky County, fresh from her appearance in Rolling Stone, Barb Tuckerman kept the Board of Elections humming as another stellar, national-level operative in Cathy Allen organized and worked day and night for Sherrod Brown, State House candidate Darrel Opfer and our ticket. To the men and women in Huron County, led by chair Richard Hauser and Strickland coordinator Jon Allton - your Election Day operation was outstanding - and certainly played a decisive role in a great leader in Matt Barrett knocking off an incumbent Ohio House Republican. And though it wasn't a county I was assigned, Al Baldwin and the countless activists and students in Wood were expert and energetic. There are too many people to thank, but everyone I came into contact with I enjoyed meeting and working with...

I applaud the contributions of the labor movement - the UAW, teachers, building trades, carpenters, SEIU and other unions within the AFL-CIO finally saw their past support for state Democrats bear fruit, while it was refreshing to see so many good Democrats at the state level earn Teamster support this year as well. Special thanks to Bob Lynn, Jr. from Local 50, David Blythe from AFSCME and Karen Krause from OPSEA for their leadership in raising the minimum wage, and to Don Burnard from Local 8 for manning the Strickland HQ in Toledo, and who worked with many well meaning Toledoans in getting things done. Now its on to reforming health care, strengthening workplace safety, and invigorating job creation.

Lloyd Mahaffey and the UAW stood up for all Ohio workers this year in leading the fight to protect workers compensation. Though bigtime loser Ken Blackwell successfully kept Issue 1 off the ballot - I know it backfired - as it only further motivated voters already disgusted by the fleecing of injured workers by Ohio Republicans. It was the right thing to do.

Back in Toledo, Mayor Carty Finkbeiner, State Representative Edna Brown and State Senator Teresa Fedor served as the honorary chairs of Ted Strickland's efforts here, and each made some positive contributions - Carty can pull together friends in labor and find ways to motivate even the Republicans on his staff to attend our rallies. I know he'll be Toledo's loudest voice for help from the new governor.

The money raised from the Toledo area was impressive - I heard in excess of $600,000 - which not only went to Ted Strickland, but played a role in helping the down-ballot candidates succeed. Veteran Jerry Chabler, NW Ohio Strickland Finance Chairman, was joined by new County Treasurer Wade Kapzukiewicz in headlining this aspect of the campaign locally. On these fundraising lists you will find names from all wings of local Democratic Party who together supported our state candidates.

I'm proud of my brother's success. Matt finished very strong in wards and precincts across Toledo, Oregon and the townships that comprise House District 49. He and his team worked hard and smart - and he will be a very strong member of the General Assembly led by Rep. Joyce Beatty, who with her team picked up several seats in the Ohio House last week.

Looking forward to working with Joe McNamara to strengthen city council and the City of Toledo, and with Ben Konop over at the county. Neither candidate launched their campaign with the endorsement of the local party, thanks to rules and bias for which the local Democratic party bosses are responsible for. Yet they were successful nonetheless. As a result, we can put all that A team / B team stuff behind us, continue to encourage good candidates to come forward and win, and work for the good of our community.

Finally, I appreciate the chance to work with great organizers around Ohio, to have played a modest role in making good things happen. There are so many of my colleagues to name and thank - Chris Redfern, Sarah Topy, Michelle Domke and Emily Brown with ODP, Sarah Buxton with the Kaptur campaign, Jesse Gannon with Sherrod Brown, becky Pearcy with Strickland, Jim Ruvolo for the counsel of someone who's been there, Megan Vahey with SEIU, Robert Dempsey with the Senate Caucus, and my council colleague Michael Ashford for bringing statewide candidates through some of Toledo's greatest neighborhoods and churches, and to many, many others: I am inspired by your labor and will forever be grateful for your successful efforts to take back Ohio.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

New Hope

Going to be a great day for Toledo, our county, state & our country. A re-ordering of priorities is long overdue.