The former mayor is the first person to announce his intention to run for the state House seat held by Anthony A. Latell Jr.
By DAVID SKOLNICK
VINDICATOR POLITICS WRITER
GIRARD -- Joseph Melfi, former Girard mayor, said he never thought he'd get the chance to live out his dream of serving in the state Legislature.
Melfi, 62, unsuccessfully ran for the Ohio House twice in the 1980s and felt that any future opportunities were out of reach.
That is until state Rep. Anthony A. Latell Jr., a Girard Democrat, decided to not seek re-election this year and instead run for Congress in the 17th District.
"I sort of said to myself in the past that it's gone by me," Melfi said. "It's been my lifelong ambition to go the state. It looked like I would never get the opportunity and then it opened up."
Melfi, a Democrat, would not say what he would do if Latell changes his mind and runs for re-election.
"I don't think Mr. Latell is going to do that," Melfi said. "I'm in the race."
First to announce: Melfi is the first candidate to announce his intention to run for the new 65th Ohio House District. The filing deadline is Feb. 21. The district include Niles, Girard, Hubbard, Vienna, Weathersfield, Newton Falls, McDonald, Liberty, Hartford, Newton Township, Orangeville, Yankee Lake and portions of Bazetta, Brookfield and Fowler.
Melfi has the support of Trumbull County Democratic Chairman Nicholas J. Melfi, his brother. The chairman said his brother has a lot of Democratic support for his candidacy.
Joseph Melfi said he expects political opponents to criticize him for his brother's support even though he has years of government experience.
"If you can help your family, why wouldn't you?" he said.
Melfi spent 20 years holding office in Girard, including eight years as mayor. After leaving the mayor's office in 1988, he spent about 10 years as the county's chief deputy treasurer. For the past four years, he has served as administrative assistant to the county auditor.
"I feel I can contribute quite a bit if I get the job," he said.