Oregon Councilman Michael Sheehy will fill the seat vacated by State Rep. Matt Szollosi, it was announced on Wednesday.
Sheehy, who has been on council for nine terms, will serve the 18 months remaining in Szollosi’s two year term representing the 46th House District.
Oregon Councilmen James Seaman and Tom Susor were also among the local candidates who were interested in the seat.
Szollosi told The Press on Wednesday that he had put in a good word for Sheehy, whom he has known for 17 years.
“Traditionally – an outgoing state representative’s opinion, if he is on good terms with the state caucus, will matter. There were a number of very qualified applicants. I did mention to the caucus leadership that I had a close relationship with Mike Sheehy and I thought he would do a great job,” said Szollosi.
“I’ve always known him to be a man of integrity. He keeps his word, and he takes public service very, very seriously,” Szollosi added.
The 46th House District encompasses Oregon, East and South Toledo, Maumee, Springfield Township and Holland.
“The range of issues Mike will deal with in the state legislature are vast, but he’s well equipped to make difficult decisions and speak up about issues important to Oregon and our district,” said Szollosi.
Other candidates interested in the seat were Maumee Councilwoman Jenny Barlos, James Snodgrass, Jr., and Bob Wuest, of East Toledo.
“It was important to have a candidate from Oregon. But that certainly doesn’t take away from the qualifications of the other applicants,” said Szollosi. “Whoever serves this seat has to represent the interests of the entire district.”
Sheehy, a former CSX railroad conductor, will be a “strong voice for workers,” said Szollosi.
“But he also understands the need for economic and industrial development. So I see him as a representative who will reach out to business interests as well,” said Szollosi.
In a prepared statement, Sheehy said he was “overjoyed and overwhelmed” by the opportunity to serve in the legislature.
“My service will be continued commitment to good government and first class services with respect to everything from roads to education and funding for programs that are dear to taxpayers,” said Sheehy. “I have enormous respect for the Ohio Legislature and the legislative process. I hope to contribute in a significant and meaningful way to better government and a more effective and efficient use of resources for people of the 46th District and the great state of Ohio.”
Szollosi, who served on Oregon City Council for four terms, left during his fourth term as state representative to take the executive director position for Affiliated Construction Trades (ACT) of Ohio in Columbus. ACT is a 501c3 organization created to facilitate economic development opportunities and industry best practices for skilled trades in Ohio. Szollosi and his family have already sold their house in Oregon to move to Columbus.
Szollosi said he will miss being state representative, but that he will remain involved politically in his new post.