By Sue Botos
Rocky River resident and Iraq veteran Mark Szabo is making a bid, as a write-in candidate, to unseat incumbent District 1 Cuyahoga County Councilman David Greenspan.
“There was nobody else running, and I felt the people should have more than one option,” Szabo, 33, told West Life in a recent interview. Szabo said that there had been a Democrat who had wanted to face off against the Republican Greenspan, but that person had not been a resident of Cuyahoga County for at least two years as specified by regulation.
This is the first venture into the political arena for Szabo, who grew up in Lakewood and lived for a time in Cleveland. He said his mother is a native of Rocky River and his father is from North Olmsted.
The fact that he is an unknown name may make his campaign difficult, but Szabo is keeping a positive attitude. “As a first-time candidate, I’m not well-known. At the worst I’ll get some experience; at best I’ll be seen as the person that the people want to elect,” he stated.
As a veteran of two tours in Iraq, Szabo said that veterans causes top his list of concerns. “Phoenix (Arizona) and Salt Lake City (Utah) have virtually eliminated homelessness among veterans,” Szabo noted. “They made sure everyone was involved, not just the government. It’s also about the private sector trying to take what they learned and implementing it,” he added.
Szabo added that more awareness about the heroin epidemic that is sweeping through the area is mandatory. “The number of overdoses has quadrupled over the past year. There needs to be a new focus. This is something the community needs to know about,” he stated.
In addition, Szabo said he also wants to see clarification in the county charter of the right of all eligible citizens to vote.
Known for his penchant of writing letters to the editor of various area publications, Szabo said that this is one of the most fundamental ways in which citizens can express their opinions. “This is one of the most read-part parts of the paper. It helps create a dialogue in a city and is a good way to communicate,” he stated.
Szabo will join county executive candidates Armond Budish, Bob Reid and Shirley Smith, plus candidates for area judicial races and speakers from both sides of the “sin tax,” Issue 7, at a Democratic Candidates Night on April 3 at 7 p.m. in the Dunson Room at Fairview Park City Hall, 20777 Lorain Road.