Monday, November 26, 2012

How LCRP should handle vacant Toledo council seat

Phil Copeland, an at-large Toledo City Council member, was elected to the position of Lucas County Recorder on November 6th. As a result, he will resign his council seat and council, a majority Democrat, will name his replacement.

Some local unions - specifically the Building Trades - are supporting Sean Enright who lost a district seat to Mike Craig. In a Blade article Lucas County Republican Party Chairman Jon Stainbrook said:

"...there isn’t anything the Republican Party can do to derail the appointment.

“Obviously this guy has turned his life around and it happened over a decade ago. If the Democratic Party is picking Mr. Enright, then Mr. Enright is going to get the nod. It’s just the way it is,” Mr. Stainbrook said.

Actually, that's NOT the way it has to be - and this attitude is just part of the failure of this particular party chairman.

Despite this being a Democrat union town (but I repeat myself), Republicans can and do get elected. And even when there isn't a good chance of their election, there are things the local GOP can do.

What our party needs to do is recruit a business person as a placeholder until the next election when the VOTERS - and not a political party - can make a permanent selection.

We then promote the idea that our candidate is more interested in representing the voters than holding to any dictates from a political party or special interest (union).

Our placeholder would not seek the office, which would allow Enright and any other interested candidates to campaign for the support of the voters.

We enlist the support of other unions in the city (there are more than just the building trades), civic groups and the citizens themselves. We might not be successful in getting our placeholder appointed, but we can certainly bring significant pressure to bear on sitting council members and use their vote against any placeholder as part of any campaign against them when they are up for reelection or seek any other office.

Additionally, we should certainly embarrass the individuals who are willing to support Enright. I know there are other Democrats - including union members - who are more qualified than him.

Simply because Stainbrook wants to roll over and give in doesn't mean the LCRP should follow his lead. The GOP - even as a minority party in Lucas County and Toledo - has a vital role to play in articulating an alternate view and promoting what we believe will be best for Toledo.

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