Waniewski to Seek State Senate Seat
By Kevin Miliken/TIN Journalist
By Kevin Miliken/TIN Journalist
Toledo City Councilman Tom Waniewski confirms that he plans to run for an open Ohio Senate seat later this year.
The Republican from West Toledo quietly pulled petitions at the Lucas County Board of Elections last week. Waniewski needs 50 valid voter signatures from registered Republicans to place his name on the May primary ballot. The filing deadline is Feb. 18.
“I’m looking to put public service at a government level in a more full-time category,” Waniewski told TIN in an exclusive interview. “If I can devote attention to a larger segment of the population,that was the initial impetus.”
Waniewski admitted he would head into friendlier territory if he won a seat in the GOP-controlled Ohio Senate. He’s currently in the minority on Toledo City Council.
Three Democrats also have expressed interest publicly in seeking the state senate seat being vacated at the end of 2010 by fellow Democrat Teresa Fedor, who is ineligible to seek re-election because of term limits. Fedor has indicated she will run for a state representative seat currently held by Peter Ujvagi (D-East Toledo).
Toledo City Councilman Joe McNamara, state rep Edna Brown, and Ujvagi all have stated their intent to run for Fedor’s seat.
McNamara has formed an exploratory committee and gave up the council presidency, both strong indications he’ll run, even though he was just re-elected to city council last November.
Ujvagi issued a press release last month stating he would consider all of his options, after telling Lucas County Democratic Party leaders he and Fedor would attempt to swap seats because of term limits.
“Get them past the primary and I’ll be set to duke it out with one of those,” Waniewski said. “When I look at why I want to run for an office, I don’t look at who would be the potential opponent. I look at the goal of being in the position. I’m applying for a job.”
The 5th district councilman stated he plans to run, now matter how the current controversy in county GOP leadership shakes out. Waniewski admitted he has been inactive in the party “for a couple of years now” because of the rival factions.
“I hope they get it straightened out,” he said. “That said, I am a representative of the taxpayer. The publisher is not a constituent of mine, the party is not a constituent of mine. It’s the guy that goes to work and pays his taxes.”
Waniewski stated he ran for city council because he felt Toledo taxpayers were “not getting their money’s worth.” He feels Ohio taxpayers are in a similar situation.
“There needs to be a change in the culture of government,” he said.
So what would Waniewski tell residents of his district about his decision to run for the state legislature when he’s barely halfway through his first term on Toledo City Council?
“I’m not going to leave my district five constituents behind,” he said. “This position represents all of Toledo, all of Oregon, Jerusalem Township, and part of Sylvania. I would continue what I’ve done for the constituency of the fifth district—showing them how they can get the most out of government.”
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