A Golden Opportunity Knocks

Rev. Donald L. Perryman, D.Min.

By Rev. Donald L. Perryman, Ph.D.
The Truth Contributor

If a window of opportunity appears, don’t pull down the shade.
Tom Peters

Political dynamics are as unpredictable as the weather. The recent withdrawal of the front-runner, Mike Hart, from consideration to succeed the retiring Lucas County Commissioner Tina Skeldon-Wozniak is a stunning example of how swiftly political winds can shift in the local Democratic Party.

I understand the unions have told Mike Hart to “stand down” because they will back someone else after they had previously lined up the support to ensure that he got the nomination. Nevertheless, whether Hart backed out or got pushed out, he took some time, thought about it, and decided to continue doing the excellent work at the Toledo Lucas County Homelessness Board, which still has shortcomings but is in a better position than it has been for many years.

Stepping into the void left by Hart is Toledo City Councilman Nick Komives, a vocal advocate for the LGBTQ+ community. Since assuming office on January 1, 2018, and securing re-election in November 2021, Councilman Komives has been prolific in legislative output, significantly contributing to transformative change in Toledo.

What Komives Brings to the Table:

Komives excels in campaign organization and in energizing younger voters, already enjoying substantial support within the Party’s central committee. However, it remains to be seen whether he possesses the name recognition necessary to influence voters in Lucas County regions beyond Toledo, including areas like Maumee, Oregon, and Sylvania.

Although known for his impactful contributions on City Council and his evident enthusiasm for public service, Komives has indicated interests in multiple avenues, including a mayoral run in Toledo and a previous bid for a State House role. His colleagues suggest that for meaningful impact, he should streamline his ambitions and concentrate on actively campaigning for a particular office. The role of commissioner, for instance, is notably demanding and calls for an unwavering commitment to public service. As a source familiar with the matter stated, “Now is the optimal moment for Nick to refine his objectives to serve the community effectively.”

Komives responds, “I am exceedingly flattered that my name keeps coming up in the conversation for commissioner considering I didn’t ask to be considered. It invigorates me to think that people think that I would make a good commissioner, so while I’m flattered, I recognize there are numerous qualified individuals for the role.

‘A future mayoral candidacy is certainly an avenue I might explore,’ he adds. However, my current focus remains steadfast on the City Council, working diligently for the people of Toledo. Should the opportunity to run for mayor present itself, I will give it serious consideration. My objective is to ensure that we are making collective decisions that primarily benefit the community and secondarily strengthen the Party, aligning with my core values.”

Another candidate exceptionally poised to seize the opportunity is Paula Hicks-Hudson. Currently representing District 11 in the Ohio State Senate, she also served previously as a member of the Ohio House of Representatives for District 44.

Hicks-Hudson has the distinction of being Toledo’s first African-American female mayor, appointed in 2015 by the Toledo City Council. She initially entered the council as a District 4 representative in January 2011, filling a partial term vacated by Michael Ashford. Subsequently, she secured a full term in the November 2011 elections and served until her mayoral appointment. Additionally, she holds the current role of interim Lucas County Democratic Party Chair.

What Hicks-Hudson Brings to the Table:

Paula Hicks-Hudson brings a unique blend of experience and skills that could significantly benefit our community. With an extensive political background, including serving as a mayor, state representative, senator, city council member, and council president, Paula Hicks-Hudson deeply understands city and county governance. Her varied roles have equipped her with the skills to foster compromise and build consensus, a crucial asset in today’s divisive political climate. In addition to her wealth of experience, Hicks-Hudson is also a practicing attorney. This qualification adds a unique legal perspective to her skill set. As Tina Skeldon Wozniak departs, leaving a focus on social services – a vital component of county governance – Hicks-Hudson is poised to fill that gap. Her legal background, notably advocating for children, aligns seamlessly with this focus, making her a potentially invaluable asset to the community.

She also understands the importance of re-establishing a strong connection between Toledo and Columbus, which has been lacking recently. Given the considerable taxpayer dollars we contribute to the state, Hicks-Hudson aims to ensure we have a vocal presence in Columbus and reap a fair return on our investment.

Her approach will align well with proactive efforts already in place, such as lobbying, attending sessions in Columbus, and actively communicating with state officials. Her previous experience working in the Office of Management and Budget under Governor Strickland adds another layer of expertise, particularly in budgeting and fiscal management.

Furthermore, Hicks-Hudson can help community members navigate the complexities of state funding requests to help secure the resources we need locally. Her diverse areas of expertise would complement existing Lucas County Board of Commissioners skills while filling crucial gaps in our community’s relationship with state governance.

What’s more, Hicks-Hudson demonstrates a solid commitment to revitalizing Party engagement with youth and building a sustainable political pipeline for the future. As Party chair, she has taken concrete steps toward inclusion by appointing young talents like Daniel Ortiz and Chris Gore to key committees and roles within the Party. Unlike previous leadership, she is actively mentoring the next generation, thereby revitalizing areas of the Party that had diminished over time. She recognizes the importance of constantly recruiting and rebuilding, especially among young Democrats at the university level, where there was once a strong presence.

In short, Hicks-Hudson also brings a focused and inclusive approach to leadership, nurturing young talent and setting the stage for long-term Party sustainability at a time when there hasn’t been a minority on the Board of Lucas County Commissioners since Bill Copeland, the first African American to hold a countywide post, retired in 2002.

Hicks-Hudson conveyed to me, “I’m praying and giving the matter thoughtful and careful consideration. I’ve been approached by numerous individuals encouraging me to weigh this option. Am I considering it? Yes. Am I looking toward it? Possibly yes, but I’ve not done anything quite official. Right now, though, I can confirm that it is under serious review.”

Yes, I hear you, Paula and Nick. But in politics, as in life, golden opportunities don’t come often; when they do, they require swift and decisive action!

Contact Rev. Donald Perryman, PhD, at drdlperryman@enterofhopebaptist.org