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Political novice initiates the race



Published: Wed, June 22, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Other Democrats are looking at the House seat.

By DAVID SKOLNICK

VINDICATOR POLITICS WRITER

YOUNGSTOWN -- Mike Latessa of Youngstown, a political newcomer, is the first person to officially announce his candidacy for the 60th Ohio House District seat in next year's election.

Latessa spent nearly four years in public accounting at Cohen and Co., but resigned April 15 to concentrate on the race.

"By getting out early, I can use this time to get my name out," he said. "That will level the playing field against the more well-known candidates who can afford to wait to announce."

Latessa is a 2002 Youngstown State University graduate, and is president of the Mahoning Valley Professional 20/30 Club, a professional organization for young business leaders that he founded two years ago. Latessa also is a 2005 Leadership Mahoning Valley graduate.

While Latessa is the first Democrat to announce his candidacy for the state House seat, he probably won't be the last.

Possible competitors

Robert Carcelli, departing Struthers council president and a former longtime councilman-at-large in the city, said he is seriously interested in the position.

"Someone needs to go to Columbus and work to get our fair share of money back for this area," he said. "We need someone who can deliver and bring money back here."

Also, Youngstown Councilman Rufus Hudson, D-2nd, said he is exploring his political options, and one of them is the state House seat.

"There are a lot of seats out there: state House, state Senate," he said.

Struthers Councilman Dan Yemma, D-3rd, said he is considering a run for the post but hasn't made up his mind.

Carcelli, Hudson, Yemma and others have plenty of time to consider entering the race. The filing deadline for the May 2006 primary is in February of that year.

The district includes all of Youngstown, Struthers, Campbell, Coitsville, Lowellville and nine precincts on the east side of Austintown. It is one of the most Democratic state House districts in Ohio.

Current representative

State Rep. Sylvester D. Patton Jr. of Youngstown, D-60th, is serving his fourth and final two-year term in the position. Patton can't run for re-election in 2006 because of the state's term limits law. Patton was a candidate in last month's Youngstown mayoral Democratic primary. He finished fourth in the race.

Patton is interested in running for the 33rd Ohio Senate District seat. The seat is currently held by state Sen. Robert F. Hagan, a Youngstown Democrat, who won his party's primary last month for city mayor. Regardless of the outcome of the November mayoral election, Hagan can't run for his state Senate post in 2006 because of the state's term limits law.

Also looking at that state Senate seat are Mahoning County Recorder Ronald Gerberry of Austintown, former county Commissioner Ed Reese of Boardman, and state Rep. John Boccieri of New Middletown, D-61st.

skolnick@vindy.com




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