The Truth Staff
Newly-elected State Senator Paula Hicks-Hudson was ceremoniously sworn in to her new office on Sunday, January 1 at her church, St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church, by Judge Myron Duhart of the Ohio 6th District Court of Appeals, after the Sunday service was concluded.
Rev. James Willis, during that service, observed the packed audience and noted that Hicks-Hudson had done what he had not been able to accomplish, “fill the church pews.”
Indeed, many local elected officials, family, friends and supporters joined the St. Paul congregation to honor a woman who has represented so many of those present for so many years in a variety of offices.
“She is doing the will of The Lord,” said Willis just before he introduced several speakers who would give their own testimonies about the impact she has had on their lives. “She has made a difference even when the playing filed hasn’t been level,” Willis continued. “She has walked the walk and she has talked the talked even when she is in a male-dominated world. And she has paved the way for a whole lot more to follow. We are here to install her into yet another seat in which she can go forward.”
Hicks-Hudson recently won her state senate seat after serving in the Ohio House of Representatives. Prior to that, she served as mayor of Toledo, replacing the former Mayor D. Michael Collins when he died in office. After stepping in, she won a special election to finish that term, but was defeated in the next general election by current Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz.
Hicks-Hudson’s first elected office was on Toledo City Council and during that term was elected president of Council by her fellow councilmembers. As president, she was in line to succeed then-Mayor Collins.
She won her state senate seat in last November’s election by garnering more than 55 percent of the vote against her Republican opponent.
She was praised by long-time friend Charlon Kaye Dewberry, an attorney in Bowling Green, Ohio, for “her passion for serving others and her belief that she could make a difference in our community.
“Her passion for doing what is right has only grown stronger over the years,” said Dewberry. “She truly works for the good of all mankind.”
Also delivering words of praise for Hicks-Hudson and the work she has done on behalf of the community over the years were Judge Joseph Howe of the Toledo Housing Court; Tina Butts, founder of The Movement; Earl Mack, former state law enforcement official and now president of the Toledo Buffalo Soldiers and Judge Duhart before the swearing in.
“She isn’t a career politician,” said Howe. “She is doing this to help people.” Howe spoke of how Hicks-Hudson, long aware of the importance of the Housing Court, has worked as a state representative to pass legislation to enhance the stature of the court. He also praised her time as mayor:
“She stepped up when the City of Toledo needed her and she became a fantastic mayor.
Judge Duhart thanked Hicks-Hudson for being a role model that his two daughters could look up to and noted her unceasing energy in accomplishing the tasks set before her.
“Thank you for the things you have done for the community,” he said. Then citing a portion of Rev. Willis’ sermon of the day that encouraged listeners to “get out of neutral and into drive,” he said that: “Paula is always in drive.”