By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News A third Republican candidate has stepped forward to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of State Rep. Tim Brown to become president of the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments. Haraz Ghanbari, director of military and veterans affairs at University of Toledo, has applied to Ohio Speaker of the House Clifford Rosenberger to fill the vacancy, and then he will seek the nomination from the Wood County Republican Party for the nomination to run in November. Ghanbari, who enlisted in the Army National Guard at 17, said being in the State House of Representative was “a bigger way to serve.” Ghanbari has served a total of 15 years in the Army National Guard and the Navy Reserve. He is a lieutenant in the Navy. His service has included deployment to Bosnia in the Army and Afghanistan with the Navy. A public affairs officer, he has also worked for the Associated Press in its Washington Bureau. The Perrysburg resident joins Theresa Charters Gavarone, a member of Bowling Green City Council, and Edward L. Schimmel, the mayor of Northwood. According to a press release from Rosenberger, the selection committee will meet next week to discuss who will fill the vacancy until the beginning of the next legislative term. In an interview late Friday afternoon, Ghanbari said his life has been “dedicated to serving others,” In that he’s like the people who settled Wood County, he said. These “well-intentioned people” created a society that gave “many people an opportunity to succeed.” Ghanbari grew up in Ohio and graduated from Bay Village High School in 1999 and Kent State in 2004. He said there are people every day who take oaths to serve their fellow citizens. That includes not just those in the service but also the person bagging groceries at WalMart or the person who greets others at church. “I have a grateful heart for all those who serve in many capacities,” he said. As exciting as his work as an AP photojournalist was, taking him to 30 countries and covering two presidents, “when I put my head on the pillow, I knew there was more I could be doing.” He was aware from personal experience the difficulty service personnel faced when returning from deployment. “What better than to come home to help veterans?” So he returned to Ohio to take the job at UT. When serving with others in the military, he said, “it doesn’t matter what their beliefs are or what their gender identity is, we have a common mission. That’s something that’s been instilled in me. … Now this my time to continue my service.”
By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Bowling Green City Council member Theresa Charters Gavarone announced Wednesday evening that she is seeking the state representative seat vacated by the resignation of State Rep. Tim Brown. Charters Gavarone, a Republican, is an attorney, business owner, and is serving her second term as council member representing the city’s Fourth Ward. She earned a business degree from Bowling Green State University and a law degree from the University of Toledo. “I really enjoy the work on council,” she said Wednesday evening. “I think I have something to offer at the state level.” Charters Gavarone said she is interested in mental health issues, drug addiction, education and economic development. As an attorney for 22 years, Charters Gavarone said she has first hand experience with the justice system. “The impact of mental illness and drug addiction on both adults and children is devastating on both a personal and community basis. Although a lot is happening to improve services, there is more work to do to make services available to those in need.” “I think we have a long way to go,” she said Wednesday evening. As co-owner with her husband of the Mr. Spots restaurant in downtown Bowling Green, Charters Gavarone said she understands the role small businesses play in the local economy. “I think it’s important to keep Wood County working,” she said. “It’s important to support small businesses.” Charters Gavarone also pointed to her experience as a parent. “As a mother of three, I understand the challenges faced by families, children, and schools,” she said in making the announcement. “I’ve worked with students in the classroom and library and have supported teachers and coaches as a fundraiser and volunteer. Wood County needs a representative who understands the issues from all sides and someone who is willing to listen and represent their interests in Columbus.” As a city council member, Charters Gavarone said she has employed a bipartisan approach to issues. “In my years as an elected official, I have proven that I can work with people to solve community problems regardless of party affiliation. Wood County needs a representative in Columbus that will work hard and reach across party lines to make decisions that will best serve the needs of our community. I have that track record.” If elected to the state representative seat, Charters Gavarone will have to relinquish her seat on city council. At least one other Wood County Republican, Northwood Mayor Ed Schimmel is also interested in the Statehouse seat. The House leadership is expected to select a replacement soon to fill Brown’s position. It will be the responsibility of the Wood County Republican Party to choose the candidate to appear on the November ballot. The Wood County Democrats have selected Kelly Wicks as their candidate to appear on the ballot for the Statehouse seat.
By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Kelly Wicks went into Thursday evening with the campaign groundwork, unused funds, and leftover campaign signs. He ended the evening with the backing of the Democratic party. The Wood County Democratic Central Committee voted to put Wicks on the November ballot as the Democratic candidate for the state representative seat vacated by Republican Tim Brown. Wicks received 18 votes from the committee, while Daniel Gordon received 6 votes. The meeting room for Democrats Thursday evening was packed with party members wanting to hear the “job interviews” for Wicks and Gordon. Brown’s resignation has given the underdog Democrats hope at gaining the seat that has not been held by a Democrat since 1938. Wicks will now face off against the candidate yet to be chosen by the Wood County Republican Central Committee. Northwood Mayor Edward Schimmel has announced his interest in the Republican nomination. Perrysburg Township Trustee Bob Mack has initially expressed interest then decided to withdraw his name. Wicks, who owns the Grounds for Thought business in downtown Bowling Green, promised his party that he would hit the ground running if selected. “With your support, our campaign will start now,” he said. Wicks criticized current state leadership of being pro-big business, pro-coal, and pro-charter schools, while being anti-worker and anti-women. His focus would be on job creation, public education, infrastructure, transportation, clean energy and worker rights. “We still need to make sure we’re fighting for workers,” he said. Wicks also vowed to work across the aisle. “Everybody’s tired of the bickering and the fighting,” he said. “We have an opportunity to stand together. I’m someone who will work together for all we can achieve.” Gordon, in his third term on Bowling Green City Council, came in to Thursday evening with the endorsements of 54 elected officials and the urging of the Ohio House Democratic Caucus. “They heard from other folks that I’m the real deal. I care,” he said. Gordon said unlike most college graduates who move away, he dug in. “I didn’t leave. I doubled down on Bowling Green.” Like Wicks, he criticized state leaders who have “attacked working people” and “crippled our state.” “We’ve received so many cuts from Columbus,” Gordon said. “I see the effects of these consequences every day.” But unlike Wicks, Gordon touted his winning record of unseating a Republican then securing two more terms on city council. “I’ve demonstrated the ability to win an elected office and keep winning an elected office.” Once on council, Gordon said he pushed for revitalizing East Side neighborhoods, which is now council’s top priority. “So many people in my neck of the woods felt voiceless,” he said. He also worked to create Ridge Park, the only park area in the First Ward. “That was the happiest day of my life so far,” Gordon said of the day the park was opened. “There’s nothing that prepares you for elected office, except holding an elected office,” Gordon said, promising to campaign tirelessly and bring along the young voters who supported him in the last election. But Wicks pointed out that while Gordon has won elections, Wicks has secured far more votes in his race for mayor in 2016 and state representative in 2012. He started out as a definite underdog in the…
Northwood Mayor Edward Schimmel announced today that he will seek the Republican party nomination for the Ohio House 3rd District seat. The vacancy was recently created when Representative Tim Brown accepted the position as executive director with the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments. Schimmel, a two-term Northwood city councilman and first term mayor, has sat on the Republican central committee since 2012. “One of the things I’ve learned in elected office is that there is always more work to be done,” Schimmel said. “I know that if selected I will be leaving the mayor’s office with unfinished business, but I believe that I can help not only Northwood, but all of Wood County in the State House.” An attorney with the law firm of Hizer & Schimmel, he said that he is fully committed to being representative. “If that means leaving the practice of law altogether, I would certainly do that. The plan at this time would be to only work a couple days a week as an attorney, so that I could devote my time to representing Wood County and my obligations to my family.” Schimmel is 39 years old, and is married with three children. He attended Northwood schools, and the University of Toledo where he obtained degrees in political science and law.
By BG INDEPENDENT NEWS Bob Mack, a Perrysburg Township trustee and commercial real estate developer, has opted not to run for the Ohio State House. The vacancy was created when the incumbent, Tim Brown, of Bowling Green, was hired as executive director of the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments. Mack was considering the run, but said this morning (June 27) that “to be in that race you need to be 110 percent and I wasn’t sure I could get to that level.” Family obligations and his partnership in the commercial real estate firm Signature Associates, which is involved in commercial and industrial sales and leasing, prevent him from meeting the demands of the race. Mack said there’s unfinished business in Perrysburg Township he’d like to address. “Perhaps I can have greater impact on a more local level.” The Republicans have until Aug. 15 to name someone for the November ballot. Michael Marsh, the GOP county chairman, said others have expressed interest. Two Democrats have said they will run business proprietor Kelly Wicks, who ran for the seat in 2012, and Bowling Green City Councilor Daniel Gordon. The county Democrats are scheduled to meet Thursday (June 30) to decide who to nominate.
The Wood County Democratic Party’s Central Committee will meet Thursday June 30 at 6 p.m., at Newlove Realty on South Main Street in Bowling Green, to select its State House candidate for the November ballot. Daniel Gordon, a member of city council, and Kelly Wicks, a local businessman who has previously run for the seat, have applied for the nomination. Both candidates will speak and then the Central Committee will select the Democratic Party’s candidate for the November election. According to Michael Zickar, who chairs the county committee: “We believe that this is a historic opportunity for the Wood County Democratic Party, given that there will be no incumbent running and the Republican National Party seems in a disarray after Republicans have chosen Donald Trump as their presumptive nominee for President.”
By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Tim Brown’s plan to resign as state representative for Wood County has left a big hole for local Republicans to fill. But Bob Mack, Perrysburg Township trustee, would like a chance at the job. “This all came about rather quickly,” Mack said Monday afternoon. And so far, Mack is the only Republican to state a commitment to run. The party has until Aug. 15 to pick a replacement for Brown to appear on the November ballot. Mack believes he has the qualifications for the legislative position. “I don’t want to do anything in my life unless I’m uniquely qualified to do so,” he said. Mack said he has spent 28 years in the “trenches of commercial real estate.” And he is in the middle of his fourth term as Perrysburg Township trustee. “I understand both the pressures of government funding and needing to make ends meet,” he said. Mack said he also served at least a decade on an ODNR coastal resources advisory commission. Though Mack is not up for re-election as township trustee this year, if he is chosen by the Republican House leadership to fill in Brown’s seat, he will have to relinquish his township position. “I have very mixed emotions,” Mack said. “It gives me a little bit of angst. We always have unfinished business in township government.” But if elected to the state legislature, Mack might be able to continue working on one of those items of unfinished business. One of his goals as a township trustee was to lead the township to a Wood County water service or get a more reasonable water contract with Toledo. “I could still have a voice in resolving water issues,” he said. Brown’s move to the director’s position at the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments will allow him to play a role in the water rates equalization conversation being held now in the region, Mack said. “It’s a phenomenal move for Tim, and even a better move for Wood County,” Mack said. “It’s a big deal.” If elected, Mack said he would continue to work in real estate, which would allow him the flexibility to serve as a legislator. He noted that it is quite common for state representatives to hold “day jobs” in addition to their legislative work. Mike Marsh, head of the Wood County Republican Party, said he has heard from other party members who are interested in the Statehouse seat. But so far, Mack is the only one who has expressed definite plans. “He’s the only one that I’ve heard from who’s sure he’s doing it,” Marsh said. As of earlier today, two local Democrats had stated intentions to file applications to appear on the fall ballot for the empty seat – Daniel Gordon and Kelly Wicks. The Wood County Democratic Party will select the candidate to be on the ballot. Stories about Gordon and Wicks appear elsewhere in BG Independent Media.
By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Kelly Wicks, a Bowling Green Democrat who ran for state representative in 2012, would like to take another run at the legislative office now that his former competitor, Tim Brown, has left the race. “With the sudden resignation of Tim Brown, it put a whole new spin on the election in November,” Wicks said Monday afternoon. Since Brown, a Republican, announced last week that he was resigning to take the top position with the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments, Wicks said he has been approached by local constituents about applying for the position. “They asked if I would be willing to step up and make another run,” he said. After a great deal of talk with family members, who would be most affected by a campaign, Wicks decided to put his name in the race. “Ultimately, it will be up to the Democratic Central Committee,” he said. That committee will review all the Democratic applications, then make a decision who will appear on the Wood County ballot. Wicks said his strongest qualifications are his willingness to be available to constituents and his experience running a business, Grounds for Thought in downtown Bowling Green. “I think my three decades of private sector work make me a good candidate,” he said. “I would be able to hit the ground running.” Wicks praised Brown’s efforts at the Statehouse, and said he looks forward to working with Brown on TMACOG issues such as high speed rail transportation. State Rep. Tim Brown’s decision to resign from the Statehouse has given the Wood County Democratic Party a glimmer of hope that it has a chance to take the state seat. Wicks is the second local Democrat to make an official announcement of his interest in the seat. The first was Bowling Green Councilman Daniel Gordon. There is already a Democrat on the ballot for state representative, but David Walters, of Bowling Green, has stated he plans to resign his place on the ballot for the Statehouse. According to Mike Zickar, head of the Wood County Democratic Party, the process for finding a replacement candidate will be made in the next few days. The new candidates from both parties for the state representative seat must be filed with the Wood County Board of Elections by Aug. 15. Any Democrat interested is encouraged to send a resume to email@example.com. Brown’s departure has also opened wide a possibility for another Republican to move into the state representative seat. “I have not heard from anyone,” Brown said about potential candidates last Thursday. “I’m sure there will be a lot of people thinking about it. This area is rich with talent.”
By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News State Rep. Tim Brown’s decision to resign from the Statehouse has set the dominoes in motion. His departure has given the Wood County Democratic Party a glimmer of hope that it has a chance to take the state seat. The first local Democrat to officially state his interest in the legislative seat after Brown’s announcement is Bowling Green Councilman Daniel Gordon. But first, the Democrat currently on the ballot, David Walters, of Bowling Green, has to resign his place on the Democratic ballot for the Ohio State House of Representatives. And Sunday evening, Walters announced his plans to bail. “Tim Brown has been a dedicated public servant to the residents of Wood County for many years and has done a commendable job of representing the best interests of our county,” Walters stated in a press release. “However, like Representative Brown, I feel that my calling now lies away from elected office and so it has become imperative that we put forward a candidate who can continue his legacy of placing the interests of Wood County residents above partisan politics.” And that will make room for Gordon, whom Walters endorsed. “While I remain passionate about the issues affecting Wood County, I feel that there is a person better suited to represent our community than myself. That individual is Bowling Green City Councilman Daniel Gordon,” Walters said. But Gordon may be just one of several Democrats eyeing the seat. According to Mike Zickar, head of the Wood County Democratic Party, the process for finding a replacement candidate will be made in the next few days. The new candidates from both parties for the state representative seat must be filed with the Wood County Board of Elections by Aug. 15. Any Democrat interested is encouraged to send a resume to firstname.lastname@example.org. Gordon, in his third term as First Ward councilman, said he has been focused on making improvements in Bowling Green, such as the creation of Ridge Park, Complete Streets program, and neighborhood revitalization. However, when Brown announced his resignation, the Democratic party’s search began. “My phone hasn’t stopped ringing about this opportunity,” Gordon said. “My goal has always been about making life better for people,” he said. That focus can be transferred to the state level, where Gordon believes he can make an even bigger impact. “I would be honored if they chose me,” he said. Gordon is not up for re-election this year for city council, so he won’t be risking that position if he runs for the Statehouse. Brown’s departure has also opened wide a possibility for another Republican to move into the state representative seat. “I have not heard from anyone,” Brown said about potential candidates last Thursday. “I’m sure there will be a lot of people thinking about it. This area is rich with talent.”
By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Wood County Commissioner Joel Kuhlman has turned in an application for judge in the Sixth District Court of Appeals, sending more local candidates scrambling for seats. Kuhlman didn’t think much of it when some of his Wood County supporters approached him about filing for the ballot spot vacated when Court of Appeals Judge Jack Puffenberger withdrew his name on June 3. Kuhlman chalked it up to his local constituents being supportive. But then the push came from people outside Wood County, including encouragement from Lucas County’s handpicked candidate for the seat who declined the offer. So Kuhlman started taking a second look. “I’ve been struggling with it for the last couple days,” said Kuhlman, the lone Democrat on the county commissioner board. “I really like being a commissioner.” But after debating, he decided to take the chance. “I’m going to go for it,” he said Friday afternoon. Kuhlman’s decision has started a game of political musical chairs with potential candidates eyeing empty seats. “It’s a complicated mess right now,” said Mike Zickar, head of the Wood County Democratic Party. That’s because earlier in the week, Republican Tim Brown announced he was giving up his state representative position to take the top spot with the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments. “It’s like playing multiple games of chess right now,” Zickar said. Here’s why: Kuhlman is facing off with Republican Ted Bowlus right now for county commissioner. If Kuhlman is selected by the Sixth District’s eight central committee leaders for the court ballot, he has to give up his spot on the county commissioner ballot. That leaves a big opening for Democrats interested in running for county commissioner. The replacement for the ballot will be chosen by the Wood County Democratic Party, but will not serve unless elected, since Kuhlman will remain in the commissioner seat till the term expires in January. Meanwhile, both parties are eyeing the empty seat being vacated by Brown leaving for TMACOG. “I have not heard from anyone,” Brown said about potential candidates on Thursday. “I’m sure there will be a lot of people thinking about it. This area is rich with talent.” The Republican Party Caucus of the state legislature will pick Brown’s replacement, according to Terry Burton, director of the Wood County Board of Elections. “It’s wholly in their hands,” he said. That person will fill out Brown’s term till the end of 2016, but it’s up to the Wood County Republican Central Committee to pick a person to go on the November ballot. That choice must be made by the filing deadline of Aug. 15. “Is it likely to be the same person? One would think if there is good communication, it will be,” Burton said. Brown’s departure may also lead to a game of Twister in the Democratic party. Dave Walters, of Bowling Green, is currently the Democrat running for the House seat. However, there is some talk that he filed as a place holder to make sure the Dems would have a candidate on the fall ballot. “Any candidate for any office, elected in the primary, if they withdraw, the party has the right to replace them,” Burton explained. Zickar said local Democrats are looking closer at the candidate position for the House…
NextGen Climate will be on the Bowling Green State University campus registering students to vote during freshmen orientation events Friday at 1:30 p.m. outside the Bowen-Thompson Student Union. This voter registration initiative is part of NextGen Climate Ohio’s statewide campaign to register and mobilize young voters to help elect candidates who support acting to combat climate change. (See story on NextGe Climate at: http://bgindependentmedia.org/next-gen-enlists-young-voters-to-go-to-polls-to-fight-climate-change/)
State. Rep. Tim Brown, R-Bowling Green, was selected Wednesday to be president of the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments. Brown will replace Tony Reams, who is retiring. Brown, whose salary is being negotiated, may start as early as July 1. Brown, 53, was first elected to the Ohio House in 2012. He was appointed a Wood County commissioner in 1997 and subsequently elected. Brown said it would be up to Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger, R-Clarksville, to determine the process to fill Brown’s seat in the House.
By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News With the primary season all but over and the Democrats and Republicans settled on their presumptive nominees, a national effort is under way to turn out young, environmentally aware voters in November. NextGen Climate has been reaching out to college-aged voters since early this year urging them to pledge to vote for candidates who will take action to address climate change. The effort started on campuses in Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Columbus and expanded to a dozen more campuses throughout the state, including Bowling Green State University. By fall the effort hopes to be on 60 campuses in Ohio. “Our goal is to help young voters turn their passion for climate action into votes for climate champions,” said Joanne Pickrell, state director. “We want to harness the energy brought out by the primary and harness it to this important issue. “ Ohio is one of seven states NextGen Climate is focusing on. The others are Pennsylvania, Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, Illinois, and Colorado. The states were chosen, she said, because they are important to the presidential contest and because they have contested senatorial races. “The response on college campuses has been great,” Pickrell said. “We believe that young voters want to vote on important issues in their lives like climate changes. Young voters want to see action on climate change. … We think this a huge issue for a large voting bloc.” Millennials and Baby Boomers are the two largest voting blocks. A poll by USA Today/Rock the Vote found that the percentage of 18 to 34 year olds who say they are likely to vote has risen from 60 percent in January to 70 percent in March. Another poll taken late last year by ABC News/Washington Post found that 76 percent of 18 to 29 year olds thought climate change was a serious problem, with 63 percent of them saying it was a very serious problem, and 64 percent said the federal government should do something to address it. “We want candidates to really talk about the benefits of acting on climate changing,” Pickrell said. “That includes the economic benefits.” Now only will these actions help the environment but they will create “great jobs,” she said. “Candidates should be doing more to move forward toward real solutions on climate change,” she said. NextGen Climate backs President Obama’s Clean Power Plan announced late last year. (https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/08/03/fact-sheet-president-obama-announce-historic-carbon-pollution-standards). The project has not endorsed any candidates. At this point they will compare and contrast their policies on the issues. The goal is to register 40,000 young adults in Ohio. Beyond getting young voters to pledge to cast ballots, the cards will provide the information needed to create a database to stay engaged with them throughout the campaign and to get them to the polls when voting starts in the fall. That means as students head back to school in a couple months, they’re likely to encounter NextGen Climate canvassers. “We’ll be at orientation,” Pickrell said. “We want to be one of the first organizations they see on campus.”
By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Joe DeMare, Green Party candidate for U.S. Senate, was a happy guy when he arrived for his interview with the BG Independent News. The results from the presidential election were in, and the Green Party candidate had won. That would be the Austrian presidential election, and the winning candidate was Alexander Van der Bellen. “It’s a good day to be a Green,” DeMare said. “Our first head of state.” The Bowling Green resident has set his sights on being the first Green in the U.S. Senate. In part his campaign was spurred by the requirements of the political system. In order to maintain its place on the Ohio ballot, the party must secure votes in a statewide primary race. DeMare’s candidacy was intended to achieve that. He noted that about half the registered Green voters who cast ballots in the March primary defected to the Democrats, most likely to vote for Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. But, he said, for every Green who voted Democratic, two unaffiliated voters cast Green ballots. So the Greens came out stronger. DeMare expects that many of those Sanders-leaning Greens will return to the fold in November if Hillary Clinton wins the nomination. Jill Stein will be the party’s presidential candidate. DeMare, though, is running for more than strategic reasons. The incumbent, Republican Senator Rob Portman, “desperately needs to be replaced, and I intend to replace him.” The Republican Party doesn’t know enough about science to be entrusted with the environment, he said. He cited a recent rider on the defense appropriations bill that would weaken legislation on ocean-going vessels dumping their ballast into the Great Lakes. For him, the Democrats are little better. “I feel the Democrats have been given many opportunities to protect our country and our ecology. And sometimes they’ve come through. But more and more, especially over the past 10 years, they’ve failed again and again,” he said. “If I thought the Democrats could do it, I’d be a Democrat.” In fact, in 2008 he worked to get Barack Obama elected, starting with the primaries. DeMare poured time and money into Obama’s campaign. Then in his first State of the Union address, Obama touted nuclear energy as a solution to the nation’s energy needs. Also, DeMare said, the Greens oppose Obamacare, favoring instead universal single-payer system. Obamacare, he said, “takes the worst of both systems.” It has government mandates, but puts the onus on individuals forcing them to get coverage through private companies. As to his Democratic rival Ted Strickland, “he did not treat unions well when he was governor.” He’s confident there are Democrats who share his reservations about the former governor. “Strickland will not do.” DeMare’s campaign rests on several core principles: ecological restoration, peace and social justice. It is not enough, DeMare said, to stop the damage being done to the environment. “We need to go all the way back to restoring the environment.” “The most urgent thing we need to do is fight climate change,” he said. “One of the ways to do that is to simply eliminate subsidies to fossil fuel industries.” He said those amount to about $35 billion. “I want to take those subsidies and give them to wind and solar energy industries. If we do that, we…