UPDATED: Collins enters mayoral raceWritten by Mark Hensch | | email@example.com
Current 2nd district City Councilman D. Michael Collins threw his hat into the Toledo mayoral race during a June 30 press conference at One Government Center. A Toledo native, Collins will run as an independent and will create a team for his candidacy.
“I have had the privilege to serve on the Toledo City Council for the past 18 months,” Collins said during his speech. “This has provided me with a front row seat as to why Toledo is in its current state of affairs. I will assemble a leadership team that embraces the vision that Toledo and our neighbors will come together, and with true communication, respect and trust as the foundation, we will achieve our potential.”
Collins said his announcement came the day of his 65th birthday. Most of those 65 years, he said, he has lived in Toledo. Besides his council tenor, he said, he also served in the Marine Corps from 1965 until his discharge in 1969. In addition, he is also the former president of the Toledo Police Patrolmans’ Association.
“Not everybody tells you the truth,” Collins said of the lessons he learned during his Patrolmans’ presidency. “A career in law enforcement gives you the ability to filter information in terms of the credibility that is being represented.”
Council candidate Steve Sulewski said Collins’ mix of experience and honesty had won his vote. He said he admired Collins’ continued dedication towards remaining free of any political party affiliation.
“He is a fighter and an independent,” Sulewski said of Collins. “We need more of that in this city. I will do anything I can to back him.”
During his speech, Collins focused on three problems within Toledo he said he would help fix. These were its economy, relationships with other Northwest Ohio communities and its municipal safety, he said.
Collins said the city’s economic woes stemmed from budgets approved by the administration of current Mayor Carty Finkbeiner. When he addressed worries over the budgets, he said, the Finkbeiner administration ignored his ideas.
“I have not voted for the past two budgets presented by the administration because both budgets were, in my opinion, not realistic and the process to achieve them was not transparent,” Collins said. “These budgets passed, however, and we now live with the product of a failure of sound fiscal policy. The administration either failed to listen or dismissed my concerns outright.”
Collins said he would remedy these economic woes by reaching out to neighboring communities and encouraging regional economic growth. He said he will work at formulating a “responsible” plan of economic success for the area.
“Northwest Ohio will prosper and grow if we can capitalize on our natural resources, outstanding institutions of higher education, the synergy and dynamics of the new University of Toledo, our unique geographic location and our talented and committed workforce,” he said. “Most importantly, we will be a region with a mission.”
Collins said public safety was a key factor in accomplishing his economic goals. Calling Toledo’s fire, rescue and police services “understaffed,” he said he aims to clean up the community’s crime.
“In the last 18 months we have had a shrinking state of municipal security,” he said. “Today we have fewer police officers per thousand than any other city in our population range in the United States. Absent the ability for Toledo residents and visitors to feel safe in their homes and on our streets, we will never achieve our potential.”
Sulewski said Collins’ Toledo upbringing would be an asset in reaching such goals. What Collins offers Toledo citizens, he said, is “practicality.”
“He has lived here his whole life, worked with the police and knows the heartbeat of the city,” Sulewski said of Collins. “He brings a common sense attitude rather than a party line attitude.”
Collins said he will not seek endorsement from the Republican or Democratic parties. He said he believes voters will pick the mayor based on their consciences first and foremost.
“You win elections with credibility, sound policy and honesty,” Collins said after his press conference. “I am going to work hard. I look forward to being an agent of change.”