July 28, 2014

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Lorain councilman won’t seek new term

LORAIN — Four-term Lorain City Councilman Bret Schuster, D-4th Ward, will not seek re-election in the fall and will leave office at the end of his term Dec. 31 to pursue business interests.

“I’ve enjoyed my tenure on Council,” Schuster said Tuesday. “I’m hopeful we’re making strides on moving Lorain forward, but at this time, I’m going to pursue some other opportunities.”

Schuster, whose son, Bret Schuster Jr., is a chef, said he and relatives plan to expand the Avon Lake Wine Shop on Lake Road in Avon Lake, which the family owns.

The family also owns the Lorain Party Center on Leavitt Road.

Schuster, a 52-year-old husband and father of two grown children, said he plans to continue as supervisor of weights and measures for the Lorain County Auditor’s office, where he has worked since 2003.

Schuster, whose announcement came a day after fellow Councilman Myroslaw Silecky announced he wouldn’t seek re-election, took office in the 4th Ward — which includes parts of Broadway to Tower Boulevard and Leavitt Road south to Cooper Foster Parkway — in 2006.

Schuster, who has chaired the Streets and Sidewalks Committee and sat on the Police and Fire Committee, championed strengthening project labor agreements to increase local employment. Council members in 2011 approved an ordinance mandating that 75 percent of workers on city projects of $100,000 or more be county residents.

Lorain residents are given first preference. City officials previously considered whether to use local contractors or workers on a project-by-project basis.

Schuster said he’s proud of his support for workers and job creation.

“Be it union or nonunion, everybody’s got to feed their family,” he said.

Schuster said he has also advocated for firefighters and police, who he said were understaffed and underfunded. And Schuster said he has advocated for veterans, saying that more needs to be done for veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.

Schuster said he hasn’t endorsed a successor yet. Today is the filing deadline for the May primary. Schuster, who worked with the late Mayor John Romoser, as well as mayors Craig Foltin, Tony Krasienko and Chase Ritenauer, said the sometimes frosty relations between some Council members and Krasienko have improved under Ritenauer.

“Governing is a tough thing to do,” Schuster said. “But at the end of the day, we all have the understanding that it’s what’s best for the city of Lorain is what counts.”

Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or egoodenow@chroniclet.com.