Janet Tarpley, who gave strong consideration to a bid for mayor, said she instead will remain on city council and run next year for an Ohio House seat.
“I really pondered this,” said Tarpley, D-6th. “It was a difficult decision to make. I had people ask me to run for mayor, and I thank them for their encouragement. When looking over the whole landscape, I decided it was too late to get into” the mayoral race.
She had circulated petitions to file for the Democratic primary for mayor. Wednesday is the filing deadline for the primary.
To date, the mayoral candidates are City Council President Jamael Tito Brown, John McNally IV, a former city law director and Mahoning County commissioner, and Matthew Smith, who last ran for political office in the 1980s.
Tarpley said she hesitated to run because her ward needs help.
“I’m having a hard time leaving the ward in this condition,” she said. “It’s in need of continued neighborhood redevelopment and infrastructure work. There are tremendous issues facing the 6th.”
The ward takes in much of the city’s South Side and its Uptown area.
Tarpley, 46, said she would “love to be the mayor at some point.”
Tarpley was first elected to council in 2007 and re-elected in 2011. Her term expires Dec. 31, 2015. The city charter doesn’t permit council members to run for three consecutive full four-year terms.
Tarpley said she can do a lot to help the 6th Ward, the city and the rest of the communities in the 58th Ohio House District as state representative.
“I’ll work to bring more dollars back to the area,” she said.
The heavily Democratic district is represented by Robert F. Hagan, a Democrat from Youngstown who cannot run for re-election in 2014 because of the state’s term-limits law. The 2014 election would be for an open seat with the filing deadline about a year away.
The district includes all of Youngstown, Struthers, Campbell, Lowellville, Coitsville and 36 of Austintown’s 40 voting precincts.