Blair selected to replace Holmes in Ohio House


By David Skolnick

skolnick@vindy.com

COLUMBUS

The Ohio House Democratic Caucus selected Gil Blair to replace Glenn Holmes as the 63rd House District representative.

Blair was the recommended candidate of a five-member screening committee and was voted by the full caucus to the position. He will fill Holmes’ unexpired term, which runs through Dec. 31, 2020.

Blair, 48, is a Weathersfield Township trustee and assistant Warren law director who also has a private practice.

“I look forward to working together with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to deliver results for taxpayers by expanding opportunity for working people and families, reforming our criminal justice system and growing good-paying jobs right here in the Mahoning Valley,” Blair said in a news release.

Blair will be sworn in to his new job next week, and is leaving his two other public-sector positions.

“We felt Gil was the best candidate to hold the seat and get re-elected,” said state Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan of Youngstown, D-58th, a screening committee member.

Blair lost a 2009 election for township trustee, won a trustee seat in 2011 and again in 2015, and finished third out of four candidates for Niles Municipal Court judge in 2017.

State Rep. Michael J. O’Brien of Warren, D-64th, a screening committee member, said, “All the candidates were pretty strong either with government or policy experience. However, Gil’s experience as a trustee and as a city prosecutor and his comments regarding prosecution of criminals and his sensitivity to treatment of drug offenders were the things that set him apart in the interviews.”

Blair was among six candidates who applied for the state House position.

Holmes, a Girard Democrat, resigned May 1, four months into his second two-year term, to take a job on the Ohio Parole Board that pays $87,755 annually.

The state representative position has an annual base-pay salary of $63,007 with additional money for those who serve in leadership spots on House committees.

The 63rd District includes all or parts of Bazetta, Brookfield, Cortland, Girard, Fowler, Hartford, Hubbard [both city and township], Liberty, Lordstown, McDonald, Newton Falls, Newton Township, Niles, Vernon, Vienna and Weathersfield.

The other candidates who applied and were interviewed by the screening committee were: Atty. David Detec of Girard, Thomas Harwood of Niles, Niles Councilman at-large Barry Profato, former Liberty Trustee Jack Simon and Melissa Wasser of McDonald.

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