Election results to change Lakewood City Council makeup

By John Benson, special to cleveland.com

LAKEWOOD, Ohio -- The Lakewood City Council ward races find an equal blend of experience and aspiration.

With current Ward 1 representative and City Council Vice-President David Anderson not seeking re-election, Tess Neff and Laura Rodriguez-Carbone are seeking the open seat.

Current City Council President and Ward 2 Councilman Sam O’Leary is running for mayor, with Brad Presutto and Jason Shachner vying for his open ward seat.

Ward 3 incumbent John Litten is challenged by Jeff Wise. Ward 4 incumbent Daniel J. O'Malley is unopposed.

Council members serve four-year terms, with ward positions expiring this year. City Council representative is considered a part-time position, with all members earning $13,000 annually.

The council president and vice president are elected by the body at its first meeting in January.

The election is Nov. 5. Early voting starts Oct. 8.

All contested candidates were emailed questionnaires. Here are profiles of those who responded:

Lakewood City Council candidate Laura Rodriguez-Carbone

Ward 1 Candidate: Laura Rodriguez-Carbone

Age: 37

Address: 2069 McKinley Ave.

Occupation: Community outreach coordinator, IPRO/Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services/U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Elected Offices: Cuyahoga County Democratic Party Central Committee, Precinct 1B, Lakewood

Education: Bachelor of arts in political science with a concentration in administrative government, Cleveland State University; Master of Public Administration, public policy concentration, University of Nebraska at Omaha

Family: Husband, Christopher

Why are you running? “I’m running because I believe that the residents of Ward 1 need a responsive, ethical, transparent advocate on City Council ready to go to work to address their concerns. I’ve been a community leader and advocate for over 18 years and understand the importance of community input in the public process.

"My platform, in its entirety, is based on the issues brought to me through hundreds of conversations with residents of the ward. I’ve proposed solutions to the issues presented to me and excel in the ability to fund them -- with (my) background in federal and foundational fund development. I’ve been able to secure $10 million dollars in federally reimbursable revenues for nonprofits in Northeast Ohio over the past five years. It’s important to the future of our city that we address the needs of our residents and that we are fiscally prepared and able to do so. I think my experience in fund development -- and years of finding solutions for, and seeking consensus between, diverse community and organizational groups in Northeast Ohio -- can be a value to Ward 1 and the city of Lakewood.”

Candidate Website: www.lauraforlakewood.com

Ward 2 Candidate: Brad Presutto

Age: 39

Address:1213 Warren Road

Occupation: Level Up Employment owner

Prior elected office or campaign: Cuyahoga County Democratic Party Member of Central Committee, Precinct Lakewood 2H

Education: Bachelor of arts in political science, John Carroll University

Family: Wife, Christina, with children Morgan, Ava, Ben, Brooklyn and Brianna

Why are you running? “I’m a 15-year resident and am running for City Council to represent our neighbors in Ward 2 by being a trusted, responsive leader to resident concerns, to improve our sewer infrastructure and protect Lake Erie without bankrupting the residents and to bring back good-paying jobs to our city.”

Candidate website: BradPresutto.com

Ward 2 Candidate: Jason Shachner

Age: 32

Address: 1341 Cook Ave.

Occupation: Lake County Prosecutor’s Office, Criminal Division assistant prosecuting attorney

Prior elected office or campaign: None

Education: Case Western Reserve University School of Law, J.D.; Florida State University, Bachelor of Science.

Family: Wife, Michelle Murray

Why are you running? “I’m running for City Council to ensure that we are all growing with it and that Lakewood continues to be the place that everyone wants to call home. I want to serve the people of Ward 2 to ensure that their voices are heard in city hall.”

Candidate website: wwww.shachnerforlakewood.com

Ward 3 Candidate: John Litten

Age: 40

Address: 1520 Chesterland Ave.

Occupation: Nonprofit executive director

Prior elected office or campaign: Ward 3 councilman (2016 to present)

Education: BFA Ohio University; MPA Cleveland State

Family: Wife, Carrie, with children Josh, Brendan and Amelia

Why are you running? “I do this to give back to my community in a substantive way. I like offering my neighbors a familiar face, customer service and answers to their questions in a timely manner. I don’t have ambitions of higher elective office. I simply enjoy connecting with residents in this way.”

Ward 3 Candidate: Jeff Wise

Age: 36

Address: 1644 Chesterland Ave.

Occupation: Realtor

Prior elected office or campaign: None

Education: Bachelor of arts, Ashland University

Family: Husband, Robbie

Why are you running? “I care about Lakewood. I’m concerned about the direction the city has been going. In recent years, the city has lost nearly 2,000 jobs, including its largest employer. Lakewood’s population has been on the decline for four decades, and the city risks losing more funding if this continues. Poverty is on the rise and more residents are struggling now than during the Great Recession. This is unacceptable.

"We can do better, and with my legislative experience as an aide at the Ohio Statehouse, I have the dedication and experience to tackle these important issues head on. My goal is simple: to unite and improve Lakewood for the benefit of all residents. I’m focused on our future and believe our best days are ahead.”

Candidate website: wiseforlakewood.com

Article Link: https://www.cleveland.com/community/2019/10/lakewood-city-council-makeup-to-change-with-outcome-of-general-election.html?fbclid=IwAR3hu16y09G8Uh6mlyAVM7iEO-UEDEZKJjkIZMn0XUhip4WqufdUuSsXkTE

Laura Rodriguez-Carbone