AMHERST — After two rounds of voting from the Lorain County Democratic Central Committee on Sunday night, Sharon Sweda was chosen as the new Lorain County commissioner.
Sweda received 57 of the 110 votes from committee members at Bricklayers Union Hall. She was the first to earn a majority vote over her three opponents, Lorain City Council President Joel Arredondo, Oberlin City Councilman Ronnie Rimbert and Elyria Safety Service Director Mary Siwierka. The first round of voting saw no one get a majority and removed Rimbert from the ballot because he was the lowest vote-getter.
Some of the participants at Thursday’s candidates forum were not on the ballot Sunday. A member of the committee must nominate a candidate, and a separate member must second the nomination for someone to officially be considered for the voting process. Neither Doug Messer nor Niki Smiley Wilson was nominated.
The vote for who would join the Lorain County Board of Commissioners was more than just to fill a vacant seat, Sweda said in her speech before voting started: It was a decision for the future of Democrats in Lorain County.
“You have things that are going to weigh heavy on your mind, but we do know that the task at hand and the goal tonight is to pick the best replacement for the vacated seat and someone who will have that ability to retain that seat in 2020,” she said.
Sweda will replace Ted Kalo, who left in January to serve as Lorain Municipal clerk of courts. The seat is up for election in 2020.
Sweda said she was able to win Sunday night because of her campaign for the Ohio Senate 13th District seat against Republican Nathan Manning and Libertarian Homer Taft. Manning won the election with 53 percent of the vote; Sweda received 44 percent. Although she lost the race, she said, people got to know the kind of person she is.
“People not only got to know me, but they got to know that I’m sincere and I’m genuine,” she said. “I put my service ahead of self, and I value our party and I think that’s what people want from a county official.”
During the public candidates forum Thursday, Sweda said one of her goals would be to bring more jobs and opportunities in the county, as wages have stagnated while companies are more productive. Now that she has won, she said she looks forward to working toward that goal.
“I’m not satisfied to have a few cities in the county doing well if one is suffering,” Sweda said. “I feel we take care of each other; we take care of the weakest link because we’re all stronger (for it).”
But for the time being, her immediate plan is to explore and learn about the current commissioners board and what it has done so far.
After the results were announced, Siwierka said she is grateful for the opportunity to run and enjoyed seeing such enthusiasm in her party.
“I think it shows that people are involved in the process. The huge turnout is fantastic — it’s great for the Democratic Party — so we’ll move forward on the next election,” she said.
Sweda will possibly be able to start this week, but hasn’t yet decided when she officially starts her new job.
- Public gets look at commissioner candidates; one to be picked Sunday
- Candidates forum scheduled tonight for commissioner hopefuls
- Primary election shapes up
- Oberlin councilman Ronnie Rimbert seeks commissioner's seat
- Ted Kalo dismisses potential challenger from Lorain Court Clerk's office
- 5 show interest in commissioner's seat
- Mary Siwierka formally seeking Lorain County Commissioner's seat
- Field forming to fill vacant commissioner's seat left by Ted Kalo
- Lorain County commissioner Ted Kalo named Lorain clerk of courts