September 20, 2014

Elyria
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Incumbents, veterans win big in Elyria Council races

ELYRIA — After a four-year absence, Republican Jack Baird is returning to City Council to a seat he held for more than 25 years and eventually retired from in 2007.

Baird, 63, figured his institutional knowledge would be needed particularly in light of the primary loss of Mayor Bill Grace.

“I knew at that point there was going to be new leadership in the administration and I thought my experience would be needed on Council,” he said. “The obvious problems will be the financial instability in the city. There will be less income and there will be hard decisions that need to be made. I’m just very appreciative and grateful that voters also saw it fit to bring me back.”

Incumbents Vic Stewart, Mike Lotko and Tom Callahan all will return to Council for another term. However, Mary Siwierka learned Tuesday she will be a one-term Council member.

“I guess I have to look for other opportunities to serve the city,” Siwierka said.

Siwierka, who two years ago was the top vote getter in her coming-out campaign, said she knows her running as an independent this year instead of a Democrat as most people know her played a big part in her loss. A mistake on her petitions forced her to enter the race as an independent.

“It was the stops and starts, my petition mix-up and getting people to understand why I was running as an independent,” she said. “This was an election where I think a lot of people voted a straight party ticket and that affected my run.”

According to the unofficial election results, Stewart was the top vote getter with 6,832 votes, or 19 percent; Lotko received 6,749 votes, or 19 percent; Callahan received 6,712 votes, or 19 percent; Baird received 5,612 votes or 16 percent; Mary Siwierka received 5,060 votes, or 14 percent; and Dr. David Hintz received 4,910 votes, also about 14 percent.

Hintz said he believes he had a good showing for his first race and wishes everyone the best who will be leading the city.

“There will be a lot for Council to do in the coming years. As the federal government pulls back, it will be up to city legislatures to help minimize the effects on the citizens,” he said.

In other Council races:

  • Brenda Kay Davis, who in recent months has taken to attending every Council meeting to help her understand better how city government operates, will become the next representative for the 2nd Ward after securing 879 votes, or 92 percent of the votes in the unofficial results. Write-in candidate Rena Parma received 77 votes, or 8 percent in the unofficial results. Davis said she is ready for the day she is sworn in and can attend meetings as an actual Council member. “Now, I can start working to serve the people of my ward,” she said. “I attend meetings now because it lets people know you are serious about understanding the community and ultimately I wanted to be on Council because what is best for my ward is best for the city and vice versa.”
  • The other six seats of Council will be filled with incumbent members. Larry Tanner, D-1st Ward, and Marcus Madison, D-5th Ward, both ran unopposed. Tanner received 1,210 votes and Madison won 728 votes, both for 100 percent in the unofficial results for their respective races.
  • Garry Gibbs, R-3rd Ward, bested Democrat Kirk Grantham to win another term. Gibbs received 1,887 votes, or 65 percent of the vote, while Grantham received 1,016 votes, or 35 percent in the unofficial results.
  • Mark Craig, I-4th Ward, defeated Democrat Stanley R. Wojdyla. Craig received 1,722 votes, or 69 percent, to Wojdyla’s 785 votes, or 31 percent in the unofficial results.
  • Donna Mitchell, D-6th Ward, also will return for a third term. She received 806 votes, or 61 percent of the vote, to best her repeat challenger, Dottie Klimczak, who collected 512 votes, or 39 percent, in the unofficial results. Mitchell said she is still learning and growing as a Council member and has the city’s best interest at heart. “I want to work with this new administration to bring jobs to the city and revitalize Midway Mall. It is not in my ward, but is important to the city as a whole,” she said.
  • Jerry McHugh, D-7th Ward, faced a familiar opponent, too, defeating independent Ed Sinegar by collecting 1,021 votes, or 53 percent of the vote, to Sinegar’s 918 votes, or 47 percent, in the unofficial results.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or lroberson@chroniclet.com.