Former Cleveland City Council President Martin Sweeney to Seek Ohio House Seat

Cleveland City Councilman Martin J. Sweeney (Photo: Cleveland City Council)
Cleveland City Councilman Martin J. Sweeney (Photo: Cleveland City Council)
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Updated 1/31 with comment from Steve Holecko.

Last year, Sweeney stepped down from the council presidency after eight years in that role. He was reelected to council in November, but now he says he'll be asking voters on the West Side to send him to the Ohio House.

"I think the No. 1 priority is basically trying to get the resources that we send down to Columbus back home, with the deterioration of the local government funds," Sweeney said.

Sweeney is seeking the seat currently held by Democratic State Rep. Mike Foley, who has reached his eight-year term limit. Sweeney says it's too soon to talk about who he might name to replace him on city council if he wins.

Another Democratic candidate, Mike Piepsny, has worked for nonprofits and serves on numerous city and county boards. He was an advocate for tenants' rights, and now advocates for the health of urban residents as executive director of Environmental Health Watch.

"Especially with the failing economy since 2008, I've really seen how it's impacted working families," Piepsny said. "So I decided to throw my hat in the ring to truly try to help working people."

Democratic activist and retired teacher Steve Holecko is also running for the seat. In a phone interview Friday afternoon, he said he worked on the campaign to repeal SB5, a 2011 bill that curtailed collective bargaining rights for public sector unions. He was also a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 2012. He said that as state representative, he'd fight to preserve funding for Ohio schools and the rights of labor unions.

"I kind of decided that instead of sitting around and being angry at a government that's not working at the state level and at the national level, that I would try to do something about it," Holecko said.

Voters will have the chance to choose between Holecko, Piepsny and Sweeney in the primary this May.

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