Joe Celusta confirms plan to run for City Council seatWritten by Sarah Ottney | Managing Editor | firstname.lastname@example.org
Joe Celusta plans to throw his hat in the ring for the District 2 Toledo City Council seat vacated by Mayor D. Michael Collins.
Celusta, a fifth-generation Toledoan who unsuccessfully ran for an at-large City Council seat in November, confirmed to Toledo Free Press March 9 he planned to run in the upcoming May election.
“I made a decision to run to try to make a difference,” Celusta said. “It’s an opportune time for me do this.”
Celusta said Southwyck is a key issue for District 2 and Toledo.
“Southwyck is vital to the city just for tax revenue,” Celusta said. “It’s is very important to us because that’s where our future income is to support to the rest of the district. If we develop it, we get tax revenue out of the Southwyck area and that’s what fixes the streets.”
Celusta said he’s also concerned with the city’s budget, which anticipates spending more than last year.
“I’m very concerned with the capital budget right now in comparison to last year’s,” Celusta said. “The budget doesn’t really make much sense to me right now.”
Celusta told Toledo Free Press in October he wanted to be a City Council member “because we need a change.”
“This is my hometown and nobody’s taking care of it,” he said in October. “They (City Council) take care of basic necessities but they’re not out working with citizens. They’re not keeping their ear to the ground.”
Celusta was a business owner for several years and most recently was senior manager of a $1.5 billion company, TrueNorth Energy.
“Money and budgets I’m well versed in,” he said in October. “I think my workability with Council and my memory and history makes me pretty good. I am not an experienced politician. I’m an experienced businessman.”
Celusta said he was disappointed when TrueNorth built its company headquarters in Brecksville, Ohio, instead of Toledo and feels more attention paid to development opportunities in Toledo.
“Development is what Toledo is all about and I’m 100 percent Toledo,” Celusta said. “We lost someone like Adam Martinez, who was a quality Councilman. He was more the development type and hopefully I can fill that void.”
The District 2 seat is currently being filled by Democrat Matt Cherry, a Sheet Metal Workers Local 33 worker, who was appointed in January. Also planning to run are business owner Marcia Helman, an independent, and Toledo Public Schools board vice president Bob Vasquez, a Democrat.
“We’ve got two candidates who are very indecisive,” Celusta said, referring to Helman and Vasquez.
Helman initially said she would run as a Republican, but then briefly sought backing from the Lucas County Democratic Party before deciding to run as an independent. Vasquez ran for re-election to the school board in November and retained his seat.
“I’m disappointed because I voted for Bob and I expected four more years [on the school board] instead of two months,” Celusta said. “We need help there the most. That is just as crucial as the city in my opinion, to get our education back online. He should finish his job on the school board.”
Celusta’s family has a long history of public service. His great-grandfather sat on City Council and his grandfather was Ollie Czelusta, Toledo mayor in the 1950s. His father was a district attorney and assistant law director for the city and his mother taught ESL for Toledo Public Schools (TPS).