ELYRIA — City Councilman Jack Baird, a well-known figure who retired from elected office only to return when he said he felt the city needed him, has been hospitalized with an apparent heart attack.
Katherine Karpus, an Elyria School board member, said an announcement was made at an Elyria Kiwanis meeting Thursday that Baird had had a heart attack and he was in “very serious condition.”
Mayor Holly Brinda said she heard there was a medical concern that prompted Baird, 65, to seek medical care. Brinda said she is concerned about his well-being and considering him a long-time friend, not just a fellow elected official.
“Jack is someone I hold in high regard and will continue to keep him and his family in my thoughts,” she said Thursday night.
City Council President Mike Lotko said he has not spoken to Baird family members but is hopeful for a speedy and quick recovery.
After a 25-year run as a City Council member followed by a four-year absence, Baird, a Republican, was elected to another term in office in November 2011. At that time, he said coming out of retirement was, in his opinion, the best thing he could do for the city. He saw his experienced leadership as a necessity to help the city tackle tough financial issues.
He is up for reelection this year and in less than one week voters will have a chance to decide if Baird is the continued choice for at-large Council representation.
Many who work with Baird on Council or have personal relationships with him say he is a respected and positive force in the city.
“He has always been someone to put the city first,” said Brinda.