Tiffin Advertiser-Tribune, 9/10
"Bell shows political backbone"

It was encouraging to see Toledo Mayor Mike Bell voiced support for Senate Bill 5, an announcement that occurred after a local public employee union rejected a compromise to help the city of Toledo remain solvent. He became the first major city mayor in Ohio to officially endorse the legislation, and I am confident his courage and willingness to take a stand will open the door for other public leaders to step forward and support the bill as well.

He recently explained his city's situation in a meeting with The (Toledo) Blade editorial board: "I'm the administrator of a city that is financially strapped and I need to be able to have the tools in the box to balance the budget."

While he was referring only to Toledo, he could have been speaking on behalf of countless Ohio cities and towns. Mayor Bell is trying to do what is best for Toledo, and he understands the provisions in Senate Bill 5 will help local governments operate within their means.

His endorsement of SB 5 likely will be met with opposition by those seeking to maintain the status quo. Some already have tried to diminish his words as merely being just one man's opinion, but Mayor Bell knows the circumstances facing Toledo and northwest Ohio because he has experienced both sides of the debate. As a former Ohio fire marshal and Toledo fire chief and now as a mayor, he understands how these negotiations work and undoubtedly has noticed ways in which the system can be adjusted and improved. For someone with his background to show public support for Senate Bill 5 speaks volumes for how the bill will benefit local governments and private and public employees.

Mayor Bell may be chastised by his opponents, but his political backbone in standing up and doing what was right for his community is truly admirable.

State Rep. Rex Damschroder,

81st Ohio House District


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