Thursday, June 26, 2008

Mayor Marge Brown, Oregon

Marge Brown has been serving the City of Oregon as mayor since 2001. For more information on Mayor Brown, please visit:


1. What prompted you to pursue a career in public service?
I got started in the Public service end to give back to my community the great things I was able to enjoy.

2. Describe the process it took for you to get into office.
I campaigned for this position by knocking on doors.

3. What advice do you have for young people considering public service
as a career?
To the young people I would tell them to get involved in the grass roots. Choose someone they believe in and work on their campaign. The Public Servant bug will be sure to bite them.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Judge Mike Goulding, Toledo Municipal Court

Judge Mike Goulding was appointed to Toledo Municipal Court in January 2007 and successfully campaigned for the seat last fall. In the overwhelmingly Democratic district, Judge Goulding (a Republican) beat a long-time countywide office holder (another Republican) and a Democrat.

Judge Goulding maintains a website with periodic updates, available here.

He recently took the time to answer a few questions:


1. When / why did you decide to pursue a career in public service?
I first attempted to pursue public office in 2004, running for State Representative. I had been a Page at the Ohio House while in college at Ohio State, and was familiar with the workings of that body. The party's candidate for that seat had to withdraw, and I was solicited by Mark Wagoner and Speaker-apparent Jon Husted to run. After that campaign, I turned my attention to the judiciary, and ran for judge of our common pleas court, again filling a void created by another candidate who decided at the last moment not to run as he had pledged. I was appointed to my current position in January, 2007, and won election to the same seat this past November. I grew up in a politically aware family, and have been interested in politics and public office for many years. I believe my private sector experience brings a lot to my work as a public servant.

2. Describe your campaign and / or the process it took to get elected to Municipal Court Judge.
I was appointed to the seat in January, and immediately mounted my campaign to retain the seat in the November election following. I recruited a highly talented core campaign team, and executed a campaign plan involving direct contact with voters. We earned the endorsement of critical labor unions. The Blade endorsed me over my two opponents. We ran PSAs, radio and tv commercials, and some print advertising. We knocked on over 25,000 voters' doors. We had a dedicated volunteer group, and support from the local and state party. We had a good deal of crossover support from Democrats. We raised and spent money.

3. What advice do you have for young people looking to get involved in politics? (Where to start, etc.)
I would suggest that a young person interested in politics begin by becoming involved in a campaign for a candidate at any level. Realize that the work is not glamorous, that it is often tedious and time consuming. Research important issues. Also, remember to maintain your dignity; campaigns come and go, and some are won, some lost. Persevere.


Councilman Gordy Heminger, Bowling Green

Gordy Heminger is a rising star in the Northwest Ohio political scene. Having worked on and manged successful campaigns as a teenager, Gordy transitioned that success into winning a seat on Maumee City Council at the age of 18.

Since that time, Gordy has been employed at Bowling Green State University and was elected (and re-elected) to Bowling Green City Council with large margins.

Gordy was nice enough to entertain a few questions:


1. When did you first decide to pursue a career in public service?
The first time I ran for office was in 1995 at 18 for Maumee City Council. Probably two years earlier, I knew I was going to run for council when I successfully managed the campaign for re-election of an incumbent member of council, Tim Wagener.

2. How did you start your career in politics (working on a campaign, interning, other?)
The first campaign I worked on was for Darlene Dunn who was running for state representative. It is ironic that this year, Darlene, is again running for state representative. That year I also helped do phone banking for Tony Celebreeze who was running for Governor of Ohio. The following year, I got involved in local politics even more by helping several people who were running for Maumee City Council, along with Toledo Mayor John McHugh. From there, my involvement just continued to grow until I ran for council in 95.

3. What advice do you have for young people looking to get involved?
Work on campaigns at the ground level. While it might seem exciting and certainly is to work on presidential campaigns, work on local races for city council, mayor, school board, county-wide, etc. It is in those races where you really learn how to organize, how to target precincts, and the nuts and bolts of winning a campaign. You'll meet people who can contribute to your campaign and build a volunteer list.


As Gordy pointed out, a great starting point is working on local campaigns. Currently, Gordy is running for Wood County Clerk of Courts. If readers would like to help out, contact information is available at the following site:

Mayor Derek Merrin, Waterville

In January, Derek Merrin was sworn into office, becoming the youngest mayor in the State of Ohio. It was the end-result of a strong grassroots campaign, one with significant contrasts as Derek, then 21, defeated a seventy-something long-time incumbant.

The campaign was no fluke, as Derek had been elected to Village Council in 2005. Among his priorities as mayor, Derek has focused on protecting tax dollars and increasing the transparency in government. His innovative ideas and uncanny openness is changing the ideas of mayors around Ohio.

Recently, Derek reflected on his public service career:


1. What prompted you to to get involved politically?
From a very earlier age, I have been very interested in politics. At the age of 12 years old, I can remember watching U.S. House Judiciary Committee proceedings examining the articles of impeachment against President Clinton and was intrigued by the debate among the members of Congress. I wanted moral justice----but the vote was unequivocally on party lines. It was probably my first taste of politics.

There are a plethora of reasons that prompted me to get involved politically. I suppose all the reasons could be boiled down to prosperity and justice. I want my generation to experience optimal prosperity from accumulating wealth to basking with personal liberties. I desire a fair justice system that breeds security by protecting the innocent and justly punishing the guilty. How are such lofty goals implemented? That is where politics emerge and becomes so exciting.

2. What was the biggest challenge to overcome running at such a young age?
Yes, the age factor. As a candidate at 19 and 21 years old, I have most likely faced some unique campaigning challenges. The biggest challenge running at such a young age is likely personal frustration. I could not control the most distinguishable aspect of my candidacy or turn away attention from it. It was a legitimate issue to boot. The continual drumbeat of experience and credibility became frustrating to me. From a practical standpoint, fundraising and gaining political allies is easier for a well-established political figures. I basically had to start from scratch.

When campaigning for mayor, I knew my age was costing me votes. I had calculated that 20% of voters would automatically right me off due to my age. From the beginning, I had to carve out 50% plus 1 from a smaller pie. Fortunately, the majority of voters didn’t hold my age against me, which I am very appreciative and thankful . I won with almost 53% of the vote.

3. What advice do you have for other young people considering future careers in public service?

My advice would be to have a firm grasp of your own political philosophy and principals before really getting deep into government. Governing by your feelings and not by principals is dangerous. You must predetermine to always do the right thing even if it is not popular or will cost you votes the next election. If you are unwilling to do that, you don’t deserve to serve the public. Get involved in politics for the right reasons.

go for it!!!!!!!


For more information on Mayor Derek Merrin, visit his website at

Saturday, June 14, 2008


FYI -- we will attempt to have our interviews alternate between Republican and Democrat in a 1:1 fashion, but will most likely be limited by our ability to secure interviews.

If you have any reccomendation or if you, yourself would like to participate, please contact us at

Friday, June 13, 2008

Mission Statement

Much like urban sprawl, new blogs arise every day. Some are nurtured, cultivated, and eventually attract a dedicated base of readers. Others sit idle, collecting electronic tumbleweeds.

The concept behind the creation of this blog is twofold:

  1. Elected and political officials in Northwest Ohio are fascinating, representing diverse backgrounds and experiences, yet a shared interest for serving the public. For various reasons, these individuals get varying (if any) coverage from the local media. Others, such as party leaders and rank-and-file activists fly largely under the radar, yet often have interesting stories to tell. Interviews are a great way to highlight local leaders and elicit what makes these individuals tick.
  2. Politics does not follow one distinct career path and there are many points of entry. What motivates our local leaders? Where did their interest in politics start? Overall, what advice do they have for teens and twenty-somethings (like ourselves) to get involved or jumpstart a career serving the public.
This is not intended to be a daily blog, nor will it comment on upcoming policies or issues. It will instead periodically examine the people behind the polices--in their own words!

Hopefully over the course of time we will accrue an archive of interviews with local political officials that may motivate more young people in our community to get involved.