It’s that time of year again – elections are in full swing and people are heading to the polls to do their civic duty by voting. If you are not yet registered to vote, the deadline is Oct. 10. City Paper has compiled a list of candidates and information about them to help prepare you for voting in November. Want to learn more about who you’re voting for? Read on.
Absentee Ballot Info
Need an absentee ballot? Here’s some info:
Who can request an absentee ballot and when?
Any qualified voter may request an absentee ballot right now or at any time before noon on Tuesday, October 31.
Where can I get an application for an absentee ballot?
Applications for Lucas County residents can be found at lucascountyohiovotes.gov/absentee-voting
How do I submit an application for an absentee ballot ?
Voters must submit their application in writing to the Lucas County Board of Elections, 1 Government Center, Suite 300 Toledo, Ohio 43604.
How do I receive my absentee ballot?
After you submit an application for an absentee ballot, the ballot will be mailed to your address listed on the application.
How do I deliver my absentee ballot to the Board of Elections?
Absentee ballots can be returned by mail or dropped off in person at the board of elections office. If mailed, an absentee ballot must be postmarked no later than November 2 and be received no later than ten days after the election.
Shaun L. Strong
Experience: Local block watch leader, former candidate, former COT employee and alternate union steward
Times Running for Office: This is the 2nd
Who is the politician you most admire? Paula Hicks-Hudson
What’s the last book you read? The Deviants War: The Homosexual vs The United States of America (helping to understand the historical struggle for civil rights for the LGBTQIIA+)
Apple or Android phones? Apple
What actor would play you in your biopic? Tahj Mowry
What do you do to unwind after coming off of the campaign? Sit alone in quietness and reflect.
How do you feel about the recreational use of marijuana? Used responsibly, it is no different than alcohol.
How do you feel about the individual right to carry out reproductive decisions? That decision belong with the individual.
What is your stance on the current climate of gun safety/violence in the community? We need common sense gun laws and reforms. No private citizen needs to own or have access to military grade weapons.
What is your opinion on the integrity of political elections, specifically on a more local scale? I believe our Board of Elections works very hard to ensure fair and honest elections. They severely lack volunteers and it would be nice if more people could donate their time and business could excuse those giving back.
What inspired you to get into politics and what has made you stay in politics? The late D. Michael Collins told me once that he was complaining about how things were operated and his wife, Sandy, said to him, “Why don’t you do something about it?” It’s always stuck with me. I believe our district deserves honest, responsive and responsible leadership. So instead of complaining, I’m doing something about It. I am trying again, because I feel I still have something left to give and I’ve heard from many constituents that they feel the same. To quit without giving it another try would be to let down all of those who dedicated their time and resources to my candidacy.
Education: I graduated from Saint Catherine’s grade school in 1984. I graduated from Central Catholic High School in 1988. I attended some college, including Lourdes University; but I never graduated.
Times Running For Office: Four times, including this race.
Times Elected: Twice
Current and prior offices: GOP Central Committeewoman For 23H twice.
Politicians whom I admire the most: Governor Ron DeSantis, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, U.S. Senator Mike Lee, U.S. Senator JD Vance, Congressman Pete Stauber — he’s a former Toledo Storm hockey player and a former favorite player of mine.
The last book I read: The Mystical City of God (most of 4 volumes) by Mother Mary of Jesus.
What do I do to unwind after coming off of the campaign trail: I visit the grave of my very sweet very best friend, Jim, and pray for his soul.
How do I feel about the recreational use of marijuana? Flat out NO!!
How do I feel about the individual right to carry out reproductive decisions? First of all, the correct terminology needs to be used all the time!! ABORTION and not “reproductive decisions/rights”!! Secondly, I am PRO-LIFE from in the womb to the tomb!! We need to support adoption agencies, not abortion organizations/mills!! Each human life begins at the exact moment of conception. One abortion alters all of society from that exact moment until the end of time!! From one abortion generations of people will not come into existence. Scientists, lawyers, doctors, musicians, cures for different diseases, etc. murdered in the womb or will never come into existence as a result of abortion.
My stance on the current climate of gun safety/violence in the community: I support The 2nd Amendment. I am against violence. I would like Toledo City Council to invest (more) in after school/summer activities that will help keep kids off the streets so that they will not get into gangs, drugs, etc.
What is your opinion on the integrity of political elections, specifically on a more local scale? I support strong election integrity. Allowing illegal immigrants to obtain a drivers license so that they can vote is not part of election integrity.
What inspired you to get into politics and what has made you stay in politics? I ran for State Rep last year. What inspired me to run for that office was that I wanted to create laws to help protect the elderly from abuse and neglect. I support Esther’s Law. What has made me stay in politics? Love, true love for my neighbor. I want to help protect the unborn, the elderly, and all Toledoans from violence. I want to help bring more jobs to Toledo. I want to be given the chance to be a good City Councilwoman. I want to be given the chance to make Toledo a safer and better city. I want to make Toledo Wholly Again!!
Judge Michael A. Bonfiglio
Education: The University of Toledo J.D. 1985, Cum Laude; Bowling Green State University, B.S. Education, 1977
Experience: Toledo Bar Association, 2010 – 2017; Connelly, Jackson & Collier LLP, 1988 – 2010; Lucas County Prosecutor’s Office, 1987 – 1988; John R. Wanick & Associates, 1985 – 1987
Times Running for Office: 1
Times Elected: 1
Current and prior offices: Judge, Sylvania Municipal Court, 2018-present
Education: Northern Valley RHS, Old Tappan, NJ; BSME, Lafayette College, Easton, PA; graduate courses in nuclear engineering, Columbia University, New York, NY
Experience: 40 years, consultant as engineer and project manager to the power industry, registered PE. Project accomplishments include chicken litter and refuse burners, solar, combustion turbine, coal-fired and nuclear plants. Included are water treatment plants and pollutant mitigating devices. Burns and Roe, Oradell, NJ; Solid Fuels Technology, Toledo, Ohio; Schmidt Associates, Cleveland, Ohio
Times Running for Office: Too many, but moving the pendulum. Even the mayor acknowledges that neighborhoods have been neglected too long during ground breaking for the new Wayman Palmer YMCA.
Times Elected: Too few according to Johnny Hildo, City Paper
Current and prior offices and dates served: Chairman, Toledo Precinct 12A; 2020 to present
Who is the politician you most admire? James Madison, moderating author of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights
What’s the last book you read? Black Toledo
Apple or Android phones? Apple 8
What do you do to unwind after coming off of the campaign trail? Local HS football and basketball games. Mud Hens. I also read a lot of Earle Stanley Gardner.
How do you feel about the recreational use of marijuana? Marijuana use is not what I consider recreation.
How do you feel about the individual right to carry out reproductive decisions? I never met a baby, born or unborn, that chose to commit suicide.
What is your stance on the current climate of gun safety/violence in the community? I am a member of the Coalition for Peaceful Toledo Neighborhoods and contributed to the Twelve Point priorities to curb violence. It includes recommendations for gun safety.
What is your opinion on the integrity of political elections, specifically on a more local scale? I work at the polls and think the Lucas County Board of Elections is beyond reproach.
What inspired you to get into politics and what has made you stay in politics? Toledo government needs a more conservative checks and balances perspective that serves all the people like good roads; not just special interests.
Education: Juris Doctor from University of Toledo College of Law; Bachelors of Science from Iowa State University
Experience: I worked for the City of Toledo for 7 years. I started in the Mayor’s Office working as the Executive Assistant to former Mayor Paula Hicks Hudson. Later I moved to the Finance Department and worked as a Manager of Special Projects and finally worked in the Department of Public Utilities. I have also worked on many political campaigns, including serving as the Political Director for the Tim Ryan for U.S. Senate campaign last year.
Times Running for Office: 2
Times Elected: 0
Current and prior offices and dates served: Appointed to Toledo City Council on January 10, 2023
Who is the politician you most admire? Marcy Kaptur
What’s the last book you read? The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Us and How We Can Prosper Together by Heather McGee
Apple or Android phones? Apple
What actor would play you in your biopic? Margo Robbie
What do you do to unwind after coming off of the campaign trail? I love to cook and bake. I go on long walks with my chocolate lab named Bo while listening to audiobooks or podcasts. I also really love jigsaw puzzles.
How do you feel about the recreational use of marijuana? I support the recreational use of marijuana, and I believe it should be decriminalized. And I believe that anyone with a low level marijuana conviction should have their record expunged.
How do you feel about the individual right to carry out reproductive decisions? I believe that abortion should be safe and legal. People should be able to make their own choices regarding their reproductive healthcare. I moved to Toledo to work for Toledo Women’s Center and I’ve been dedicated to abortion rights my whole career.
What is your stance on the current climate of gun safety/violence in the community? It is too easy to have access to guns. I support common sense gun control measures that would keep guns out of the hands of children and criminals.
What is your opinion on the integrity of political elections, specifically on a more local scale? I support measures that expand peoples’ access to the ballot. Voting should be easy and accessible, and I do not support any measures that would put extra restrictions on the voters.
What inspired you to get into politics and what has made you stay in politics? I got into politics nearly 20 years ago on my college campus volunteering for Presidential Candidate John Kerry. I was motivated to get involved because I feel so strongly about reproductive choice. I’ve stayed involved in politics because I truly believe that the government should work for the people. I have seen it happen, especially on the local level, and good policy can really make a huge impact.
Education: Masters, University of Toledo
Experience: 4 years, Toledo City Council
Times Running for Office: currently in my 3rd campaign.
Times Elected: 1, in 2019
Current and prior offices and dates served: Toledo City Council – District 5
Who is the politician you most admire? Sherrod Brown
What’s the last book you read? Zen Golf
Apple or Android phones? Apple
What actor would play you in your biopic? Glenn Howerton
What do you do to unwind after coming off of the campaign trail? Have dinner with my family on the back patio, or golf at Ottawa Park.
How do you feel about the recreational use of marijuana? Fine by me!
How do you feel about the individual right to carry out reproductive decisions? I believe it is their right, and we must preserve their autonomy to make the decisions they think are best.
What is your stance on the current climate of gun safety/violence in the community? It has been improving statistically, which is important to note. However, any violence in our community is too much, and we need to continue in pursuing multi-faceted solutions to solve the true root of the problem.
What is your opinion on the integrity of political elections, specifically on a more local scale? Our local election officers and poll workers don’t get enough credit for the work they do. Our elections are completely trustworthy, and we need to make voting more accessible however we can.
What inspired you to get into politics and what has made you stay in politics? I’ve always been involved in the community in different ways, and what I love about local politics is how real it is to my neighbors and my community. What keeps me going is seeing the progress we’re making and tackling big challenges we still face.
Education: University of Toledo, College of Law, Toledo, Ohio; Juris Doctor, December 2006 University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Bachelor of Arts in the History and Sociology of Science, May 1987
Experience: 2007 – Present, Attorney in private practice. Concentrating in the practice of Criminal Defense, including juvenile and adult felonies, misdemeanor and traffic offenses. Regular appearances in Lucas, Fulton, Hancock, Wood and surrounding counties. Experience in landlord-tenant, small claims, divorce, custody and support.
Admitted to practice in Ohio and Federal courts. Member of the Toledo Criminal Justice Act Panel for Federal case appointments. Prior intern and extern experiences include Toledo Prosecutor’s Office, Toledo Public Defender, Oregon Public Defender, and the Sixth District Court of Appeals.
Times Running for Office: once before
Times Elected: 0
Current and prior offices; dates served: n/a
How would you integrate technology into the legal system and specifically in your court? Ohio municipal courts, including Sylvania, have been slow to adopt technologies. As someone who has practiced in multiple courts, with their various interface and computer systems, I plan to implement the best practices in Sylvania.
What are your strengths as an individual that will serve your constituents well
when you’re a judge? My experiences as a trial attorney in misdemeanor and felony trials have toughened me to the pressure of the courtroom, forced me to prepare to make timely decisions, and taught me to appreciate people who come from various backgrounds. In addition, my different careers over time – office work, outside sales, stay-at-home parent, student, lawyer – remind me constantly that who you are today may not predict who you can be tomorrow.
What do you think would be the biggest improvement in the judicial system?
Funding. A fair and equitable justice system costs, but those costs can be better allocated. Right now, many people believe that there are different court outcomes for the rich and for the poor. Courts are necessary to keep our communities safe and running, and when they fail individuals, they fail all of us.
As a judge, what services or programs do you think should be offered to encourage personal development of individuals charged with crimes?
At issue is the “why?” – What are the elements in their lives that lead them to choose to commit crimes? The court should permit people to pursue the mental health and substance abuse treatments that will help them change, rather than order them into a one-size-fits-all program. Unfortunately, the statutory time constraints of municipal court cases – shorter potential sentences, shorter periods of probation, and shorter case completion times – make it hard to give people the space to fully understand their behaviors. As a result, most successful municipal courts do not have specialized dockets but focus on individuals.
What inspired you to get into politics? “The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.” – Steven Jobs
What has motivated you to remain involved in politics? “To wrestle with your demons will cause your angels to sing.” – August Wilson
Who is the politician you most admire? I’m still looking.
What’s the last book you read? The Leopard by Giuseppe Di Lampedusa.
Apple or Android phones? Apple
What actor would play you in your biopic? Sandra Bullock
John Hobbs III
Education: I am a graduate of St Francis de Sales high school, The Ohio State Barber College, and the University of Toledo in Public Relations.
Experience: I am a founding Pastor of 18 years, I coached girls basketball for 30 years, I’m a third generation Master Barber, I have served on multiple boards, I teach barbering in the adult education program at Scott high school and I have been a Toledo City Councilman for three years. I’m also a husband, father and grandfather, son and brother.
Current and prior offices and dates served: I was appointed to council by the honorable Jack Puffenburger, I was then unanimously reappointed by my fellow council members. I’m now campaigning to retain my seat in District One.
Who is the politician you most admire? The politician I admire the most is Senator Paula Hicks-Hudson, who has served in so many capacities and has had a phenomenal career. She works very hard for who and what she believes in, but is also a very caring and compassionate person.
What’s the last book you read? The last book I read of which I just finished reading is David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell. It’s on the best seller’s list.
Apple or Android phones? I am an Android user.
What actor would play you in your biopic? It’s a tie between Denzel Washington and Samuel L. Jackson. They’re both successful husbands, fathers, community activists, strong in their faith and great actors.
What do you do to unwind after coming off of the campaign trail? After the campaign is over, I plan to unwind by going crappie and/or walleye fishing. Also getting my dad’s beagles out and going rabbit hunting. I love the sound of a good beagle race. My dad raised us fishing and loving the outdoors, so that’s always a great place of peace to me.
How do you feel about the recreational use of marijuana? I have never used marijuana, but I see where it hurts anyone who uses it. It also helps those with certain medical conditions. I also believe that any state that legalizes marijuana should release and clear the record of anyone who is in prison on charges for it.
How do you feel about the individual right to carry out reproductive decisions? I don’t believe I have the right to tell anyone what to do with their body, no more than I want to be told what to do with mine. I certainly as a man cannot even suggest to a woman, what to do with her body.
What is your stance on the current climate of gun safety/violence in the community? The current state of gun violence in our city, state and country is heartbreaking! I know that fathers are a huge piece of solving this problem. I just don’t have an answer!!!
What is your opinion on the integrity of political elections, specifically on a more local scale? I think that the integrity of political elections, especially on the local level, is in a good place. I have worked the voting polls for three years. The Lucas County Board of Elections does a great job at teaching and training poll workers. It is a great process of checks and balances across the board. Old Orchard has been my polling location. I know more and more requirements are being made to vote, but whatever it takes to vote is what we must do to continue to practice this great right that has been given to us!
What inspired you to get into politics and what has made you stay in politics? What inspired me to become a part of city council was the desire to make a difference in our city. I was told by a mentor and friend, “You can’t change anything from the outside in.” It has been an eye opening experience in many ways. Most people don’t realize that it takes seven votes to get something passed. Some think that because I am a council member, I can just walk in and make it happen. The constituents of this city are the most important people in our city and I will continue to do my best to hear their hearts and serve them.
State Issue 1
Official title: The Right to Reproductive Freedom with Protections for Health and Safety
Background: The Ohio Legislature passed a near-total abortion ban in 2019, without protections for rape or incest. The Dobbs US Supreme Court decision meant the ban became active until paused by a challenge to the law under the Ohio Constitution. Passage of Issue 1 would protect Roe-era abortion rights as well as other reproductive choices, such as contraception.
Language of the proposed amendment: The proposed constitutional amendment states, “Every individual has a right to make and carry out one’s own reproductive decisions, including but not limited to” decisions on contraception, fertility treatment, continuing one’s own pregnancy, miscarriage care, and abortion. It further states that the State of Ohio “shall not, directly or indirectly, burden, penalize, prohibit, interfere with, or discriminate against either: An individual’s voluntary exercise of this right or a person or entity that assists an individual exercising this right unless the State demonstrates that it is using the least restrictive means to advance the individual’s health in accordance with widely accepted and evidence-based standards of care.”
However, the amendment expressly allows the prohibition of abortion after fetal viability, defined as “the point in a pregnancy when, in the professional judgment of the pregnant patient’s treating physician, the fetus has a significant likelihood of survival outside the uterus with reasonable measures” as determined “on a case-by-case basis.” It adds that no abortion may be prohibited “if in the professional judgment of the pregnant patient’s treating physician it is necessary to protect the pregnant patient’s life or health.”
Proponents: Ohioans for Reproductive Freedom, Ohio Physicians for Reproductive Rights, Ohioans United for Reproductive Rights, and other organizations and individuals, including the ACLU of Ohio, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Ohio Section, the Cleveland NAACP, and the Human Rights Campaign.
Dr. Lauren Beene of Ohio Physicians for Reproductive Rights states the amendment will “restore the rights and protections that were destroyed when Roe was overturned” and will “preserve the doctor-patient relationship and empower all people to make their own reproductive health care decisions without interference from the government, lobbyists and politicians.”
Opponents: Protect Women Ohio and other organizations and individuals , including the Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati, the Diocese of Cleveland, the Diocese of Columbus, and Ohio Right to Life.
The Protect Women Ohio campaign states, “Using the label ‘reproductive freedom,’ the abortion industry wants to bring taxpayer funded abortion at any time during pregnancy, including beyond the point at which an unborn baby can feel pain, to Ohio. Their proposal would outlaw protections for the most vulnerable and would eliminate basic health and safety regulations in place to protect women.” Other opponents question whether the amendment would nullify parental notification laws, and whether the language allowing prohibition of abortion after fetal viability would be effective.
Ohio’s recreational marijuana legalization ballot issue
The statute, if passed, would legalize, regulate and tax adult-use marijuana in addition to the substance’s current availability through the current medical cannabis program. It will be State Issue 2.
The proposal from the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol would establish a new government program with rules for buying, selling, smoking and growing adult-use cannabis. The Nov. 7 ballot measure is an initiated statute, not a constitutional amendment, meaning the Legislature could make adjustments if it passes.
The proposal would allow Ohioans age 21 and older to buy and possess 2.5 ounces of cannabis and 15 grams of concentrates. They could also grow up to six plants individually and no more than 12 in a household with multiple adults.
The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol secured enough signatures to put its proposal before voters on the Nov. 7 ballot. Advocates worked for over a year to hit this milestone as the GOP-controlled Legislature refused to go further than the current medical marijuana program.
Opposing the effort to legalize marijuana in Ohio
Called Protect Ohio Workers and Families, the list of opponents announced Tuesday includes:
- Ohio Children’s Hospital Association
- Law enforcement groups such as the Buckeye Sheriffs Association, the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police and the Ohio Fraternal Order of Police
- Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association
- Veterans groups such as Ohio Veterans First
A USA TODAY Network/Suffolk University poll found 58.6% of respondents approve of allowing Ohioans over the age of 21 to buy and possess marijuana. About 35% opposed the issue, while 6% were undecided.