Election 2012: Incumbent Wozniak to face Haddad, McCormackWritten by Sarah Ottney | Managing Editor | firstname.lastname@example.org
In a race for Lucas County Commissioner, incumbent Tina Skeldon Wozniak, a Democrat, will defend her seat against Republican Brent McCormack and Kevin Haddad, an independent.
Haddad is a Sylvania Township trustee. Political newcomer McCormack is a national account manager at The Kent Group, a Toledo-based executive recruiting and search firm.
Tina Skeldon Wozniak
Wozniak has been a Lucas County commissioner since 2003. Wozniak said she and her fellow commissioners have demonstrated “steady leadership despite the tough economic times” and made difficult but necessary budgetary decisions in Lucas County.
“We’ve had to cut $25 million-plus since 2008 in order to right-size county government and handle losses in revenue,” Wozniak said. “We made the tough decisions, but recognizing what our citizens need for services, we can continue making those changes in county government in a fair and compassionate way without cutting services to citizens.”
Wozniak helped merge Job and Family Services and the Child Support Enforcement Agency as well as the Lucas County Mental Health Board and the Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services Board of Lucas County.
One area Wozniak is passionate about is education and job readiness.
“Our college-educated citizenry is only about 17 percent in Lucas County,” Wozniak said. “With that, we’ve worked very hard to create opportunities for a trained and educated workforce.”
Wozniak supports “green” building projects as a “practical and proactive” way to help lower energy costs. She recently organized a GreenTown conference in Toledo, a gathering that brought the public and private sectors together to discuss ways to build sustainable community.
Haddad has been a Sylvania Township trustee since 2009 and said promises to complete his term, which ends in January 2014, win or lose.
Haddad said local government is “stuck in a rut” with no one willing to “think outside the box.” He said he believes in making existing government work more efficiently rather than “cutting it down to nothing.”
Haddad said, “When you keep cutting wages and cutting local workers, you just disenfranchise people from going out and owning a home, buying a car, living in the economy, going out getting their hair done and buying food. I just want to make sense out of government.”
Haddad has owned a Toledo hair salon for 32 years and said he brings his business sense to the government.
“I’m conservative about spending money, but I want to make sure people get their money spent on them for the services they need and demand because, as the Constitution states, a government is of the people, by the people and for the people,” Haddad said.
Helping small businesses thrive is important and the county should be encouraging people who want to start them, Haddad said.
“If one guy wants to open up a restaurant that’s going to hire 15 people, that’s 15 people off welfare, off unemployment and you’re going to get people going in there trying his restaurant. That could be another Marco’s Pizza,” he said.
Haddad is a proponent of what he calls “regionalization,” including establishing a joint public employee health care plan.
“Since public employees all have health care, why doesn’t the county, the cities, townships, villages, schools, TARTA, the zoo, even the university, go under one health care program?” Haddad said. “It would save everybody 30 percent off their health care costs. That money would be utilized in the townships, villages, cities, for everything else and schools.”
McCormack said decreasing Lucas County’s unemployment rate would be his main focus as commissioner and his work experience makes him a perfect fit for the job.
“I’m an executive recruiter. Everybody says there’s no jobs, but I’m out there, I see what’s out there. And there are jobs. There just needs to be someone who can put A and B together and connect the dots,” McCormack said. “I work in an industry where it’s my job to match the two and I feel like I can bring that to the table. I feel like that is what we so desperately need in this county.”
McCormack said it’s time for a Republican voice among the Lucas County commissioners.
“For government to work, there needs to be a mix. There needs to be some checks and balances in place and there are not,” McCormack said.
McCormack, 31, said he wants to make government more transparent and accessible, especially for younger residents.
“My age group, we are out there spending money, helping to support small and local businesses. We’re first-time home buyers,” McCormack said. “I just feel like there needs to be a voice for that generation as well.”