Sen. Paula Hicks-Hudson Is Planning to Use Her Experience to Improve the Lives of Northwest Ohioans

Ohio Sen. Paula Hicks-Hudson and union officials

By Fletcher Word
The Truth Editor

State Senator Paula Hicks-Hudson believes that the experience she has accumulated in the political arena over the years has prepared her to start making an impact in the Lucas County Commissioners’ office immediately after being sworn in.

“The challenge is taking all the knowledge I have and using it to work for our community,” said Hicks-Hudson in a recent chat with The Truth. That knowledge she noted, has been gained from her time on City Council, in the mayor’s office and in both houses in the state General Assembly.

Hicks-Hudson has had a notable number of victories during her time in Columbus. She has led efforts to make TARTA’s expansion a reality, brought urban farms to life, helped make Medicaid expansion possible, worked with her colleagues to cope with Lake Erie issues, among other accomplishments.

But, according to the commissioner candidate, it’s time to use that accumulated knowledge for the even greater benefit of northwest Ohio residents.

“Because while those are certainly victories, this is a unique opportunity to do something to impact the community here,” said Hicks-Hudson. “Working locally, such as in the mayor’s office, I have a better sense of our issues.”

State Sen. Paula Hicks Hudson and event volunteers (NAACP Youth Council of Toledo)

As Hicks-Hudson notes, the combination of being in the Democratic Party super-minority and the lack of concern that many elected officials in Columbus have for northwest Ohio is an incentive for her to return to an office here, the commissioners’ office that is in essence an extension of state government on a local basis.

“With my experience in Columbus, I know how county government works and its relation to the state,” she added.

Hicks-Hudson proposes to use that experience to implement changes in local government that will improve efficiency and connect with the state government more effectively.

“The main challenge is building and attracting businesses. We have a good quality of life here with [institutions such as] the zoo, Imagination Station, for example. What we don’t have is an overall unified view of matters like education to making the area attractive to keep young people here.

We need a unified, clear vision of what all parts of our community need,” she said. “We need to build a regional approach to getting tax dollars back to this area, much as what happened in the approach to the water issue among local mayors. We don’t come together often enough.

If there is a clarity and unity of purpose within the region, said Hicks-Hudson, “we can make [this area] more business friendly, if we have that efficiency in government.”

The issues that she hopes to address as commissioner include improving educational opportunities, physical and mental health care, reducing crime, ensuring that women have the right to make their own health choices.

Hicks-Hudson will face Anita Lopez in the March 19 Democratic Party primary for the right to move to the general election in November. Lopez, the former Lucas County Auditor, was appointed to the commissioner post this past January after longtime Commissioner Tina Skeldon Wozniak retired in December.

Hicks-Hudson, a native of Hamilton, Ohio, earned her undergraduate degree from Spelman College, a masters of art from Colorado State University and her law degree from the University of Iowa College of Law.

A long-time resident of Toledo, she has practiced law specializing in business and education, among other matters. Hicks-Hudson was appointed to City Council in 2011 to replace Michael Ashford. She won a special election as well as a general election later that year and in 2013 was elected president of city council by her colleagues. She succeeded the late D. Michael Collins as mayor upon his death and won a special election in 2015 to continue in that post. She lost a general election to current Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz in 2017. She won a seat in the Ohio House of Representatives in 2019 and a seat in the Ohio Senate in 2022.

Voting is ongoing now at the Lucas County Early Voting Center, 3737, W. Sylvania Avenue.