CITY POLITICS Swierz tosses hat into ring for mayor's race
One Republican is expected to seek the nomination.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Former city council President John Swierz filed his nominating petitions to run for Youngstown mayor, saying he would focus on attracting and retaining companies and improving the quality of life.
Swierz joins five other Democratic candidates running in the party's primary. All six had announced their intent before filing this week.
Today at 4 p.m. is the filing deadline for those wanting to run in the Democratic primary May 3. Those wanting to run as a nonparty candidate have until May 2 to file nominating petitions with the Mahoning County Board of Elections.
David Raspanti, a painting contractor who has never sought political office, is expected to file as the lone Republican mayoral candidate.
But Mark Munroe, county Republican vice chairman, said Raspanti supports the candidacy of Jay Williams, the city's community development agency director, who plans to run as a nonparty candidate.
If Williams doesn't run, Munroe said Raspanti would stay in the race.
Swierz, Fortune face off again
Swierz, 59, said he wants to make the city more business friendly to create jobs. Youngstown typically has the highest unemployment rate among mid- to large-size cities in Ohio.
"Businesses are coming in and downtown is being revitalized, but more needs to be done," Swierz said. "The city needs effective leadership. I'm well-rounded as a city employee, council member and business owner."
Swierz, who lives on Bancroft Avenue, was a city firefighter from 1969 to 1995, retiring as a captain. He then served 61/2 years as councilman of the 7th Ward and 11/2 years as council president.
He lost the 2003 Democratic primary to retain the seat in a very close race against James Fortune Sr., who still holds the seat but is running in May for mayor.
Swierz also owned a small appliance service business in the city for 26 years.
Besides Swierz and Fortune, the four other Democratic candidates are: state Rep. Sylvester D. Patton Jr., state Sen. Robert F. Hagan, 5th Ward Councilman Michael Rapovy and Police Chief Robert Bush.