Toledo mayoral candidates Keith Wilkowski and Mike Bell will be in East Toledo
for a debate sponsored by the East Toledo Club and The Press.
The debate will be held Thursday, Oct. 15 at 12:30, following the club’s monthly luncheon at Flaming Pit BBQ and Blues restaurant at The Docks. Chris Tarsha, club president, and John Szozda, manager of The Press, will moderate the debate.
The public is invited but reservations are required. Call Andrea at 419-691-7651.
Bell and Wilkowski finished as the top two vote getters in September’s primary. Both have impressive resumes.
Bell has more than 19 years executive experience as Toledo’s Fire Chief and State Fire Marshal. He was the first African-American as well as the youngest person ever to lead the Toledo Fire Department with its 500 plus employees, according to information on his Web site.
Under his leadership, the department earned Accreditation by the Commission on Fire Accreditation, a certification held by the best fire departments.
According to his Web site, Bell will work to diversify Toledo’s “job-creation portfolio” to include the region’s core strengths — intermodal transportation, medical, education and “knowledge work,” which he describes as computers and digital communication, personal finance and insurance, health and wellness, personal services and learning.
He proposes the establishment of a number of positions and initiatives. These include:
Mayor’s Business Advocate — A senior staff person to maintain regular contact with Toledo’s employers as well as guiding people through he process of establishing a business in the city and identifying opportunities and roadblocks in economic development;
Director of Information Technology—A cabinet level position to continue to implement the city’s $10 million Enterprise Resource Program, which will deliver up to date financial/budget information to department heads on a real time basis;
Neighborhood Business Centers — Establish centers in distressed neighborhoods with the goal of having the city work with private developers and community development organizations to renovate, market and operate existing structures;
Regional Government Efficiency Task Force—Establish a task force of regional government, business and labor leaders to identify duplicative services that can be coordinated for cost reduction and efficiency;
“Work for Toledo” — This initiative would accept 200 unemployed Toledo residents to volunteer on civic beauty and improvement projects in exchange for health care coverage under an expanded CareNet program.
For Bell’s full agenda, go to www.mikebellforToledo.com
Bell is a graduate of Woodward High School and the University of Toledo.
Wilkowski also graduated from Woodward. He is a graduate of The Ohio State University and the University of Toledo Law School.
Wilkowski began his political career in 1983 when he was elected to the Toledo Board of Education. He served both as vice-president and president of the board. In 1988, he was elected Lucas County Commissioner. Two years later,, when the city law director left the city, Wilkowski was named law director.
As law director, Wilkowski was instrumental in creating Joint Economic Development Zones with suburban neighbors Maumee, Rossford and Monclova Township., according to his Web site. Today, there are between 4,000 to 5,000 jobs and the city receives in excess of $1 million in tax revenues, the site states.
Wilkowski will concentrate his economic development efforts on “high value manufacturing,” that is, he states, “making new and innovative products that arise from research at the University of Toledo, especially in the advanced energy sector: solar, wind, geo-thermal, advanced materials and bio-fuels.”
This effort will also create “green collar jobs,” traditional jobs in the construction industry but with a focus on making buildings more energy efficient.
Wilkowski has proposed installing a solar field at the Dura Landfill to meet some of the city’s energy needs and pledges to identify similar kinds of projects that heighten the city’s identity as a solar and alternative energy community.
Wilkowski also pledges not to raise taxes to solve the current budget crisis.
For Wilkowski’s full agenda, go to www.keithwilkowski.com.