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Standing the Test of Time 

By Rev. Donald L. Perryman, D.Min.
The Truth Contributor

One responsibility [we] considered paramount is seeing to the continuity of capable senior leadership.  

                  -  Robert W. Galvin


Rev. Donald L. Perryman, D.Min.

If the continuity of effective homegrown leadership matters most, as best-selling author Jim Collins asserts in Built To Last, then Rob Ludeman is a shoo in for re-election to Toledo City Council on November 7.

Ludeman, one of 12 candidates for just six seats, was the District 2 representative for 14 years beginning in 1994 and was term limited. After sitting out for two years, Ludeman returned to run again in 2010, was elected to an at large seat and is now running for reelection to a ďfinal four year term,Ē he says. 

We caught up with the homegrown Toledo public servant to discuss his life and long career of quality leadership.

Perryman: You have been on city council for a very long time, which to me suggests stability.

Ludeman: Yes, if I am blessed to have another four years Iíll end up in 2022 with a total of 26 years on council.

Perryman: What contributes to your stability?

Ludeman: My parents were great parents.  They were always involved in my life, whether it was sports or school.  I think a lot of people might remember my dadís been gone for 30 years, but he was the Lucas County probate judge for 22 years and he made a lot of friends and he introduced me to trying to be a responsible individual and I probably never thought until I was about 40 that I would run for public office, although I was a political science major in college. But, I enjoyed the public service and as a real estate agent the council position blends in very nicely with scheduling and everything else.  But yes, I was raised well and raised in the Lutheran church and taught to be as responsible and hardworking as possible.

Perryman: Tell us about high school.  You and I were talking during an intermission at a recent council meeting and you provided me with a little of your background in sports at Bowsher. 

Ludeman: Yes.  I played football at Bowsher and when I was a junior we beat St. Francis to win the city championship, which was one of the big thrills of my life and then I excelled probably more at track.  I held all the sprint records at Bowsher and my teammates and I from 1971 still hold the 4 x 400 relay record at Bowsher, which I donít know that any record in the city has stood up that long.  And I was inducted into the Bowsher Athletic Hall of Fame, I think, around 2004 and that was the real thrill of my life to be inducted into that. 

Perryman: And you also competed against some other Toledo legends in athletics.

Ludeman:  Yeah, there were two guys I couldnít beat, one was Greg McClelland from Scott and the other was Bobby Lawson at Libbey. By the time I met my wife in college, she asked about sports and stuff, and I told her that I was fairly fast in high school and she goes, ďI havenít seen you move fast since I met you.Ē  I have a son and a daughter, my sonís 39, my daughterís 36.  They both are Bowsher grads.  My son played football and actually his senior year they won the city championship and then our daughter was a very good track and cross country runner and she did very well. But now with five grandchildren, all the grandkids are involved in some sport, whether its baseball or football or soccer or cross country and that kind of makes me feel good.  Itís a good training for the future because you learn some discipline and you learn how to get along as a team and I think that thatís very important.

Perryman: Great.  Letís talk about your political philosophy.  You are one of two Republicans on council?

Ludeman:  Tom Waniewski and I.  And, you knowÖI registered to vote and registered also for the draft the day I turned 18 because thatís what you were supposed to do and back then you were supposed to declare your party the day that you registered. My mom and dad were Republicans, so I put down Republican because I feel Iím conservative, especially fiscally,  and Iím probably a little more middle of the road on social issues.  But other than that thereís not a whole lot of issues at the city council level that come down to party like it is in Columbus and like it is in Washington.  I think itís more that weíre trying to run a city and do it as fiscally responsible as possible and so I donít know that itís a whole lot of times that it comes down to a political party and if you remember back, I was actually council president for almost two years at the end of my term as district councilperson and people would say, ďGeez, youíre Republican, how did you do it?Ē  And I said, ďWell, apparently the folks have trusted me.Ē 

Not everybody voted for me, but I do remember that as soon as I was given that position I went to every member of council and said Iíd like to sit down with each one of you individually and see what your goals are for the next couple years and how I can help you attain those goals.  And so itís just a matter of trying to work together because we have to keep our eyes focused on our constituents and not on what a political party is trying to tell you to do.  And Iíve never had any direction suggested to me from the Republican Party.  Theyíve been supportive as far as elections are concerned, but not interfering during the term. 

Perryman: So what do you think are the core issues that the city faces for this next term?

Ludeman:  Well, the three things I highlighted is that Iím going to dedicate the next four years to public safety, meaning weíve got to have a strong police and fire service.  As a political science major, the primary reason for government is to protect people and create a sense of security.  So I certainly want to make sure that we have a strong police and fire department. 

The number two issue is roads.  I hear that every time I go somewhere: Ďyou guys are doing a better job this year getting some roads paved.í But weíve got to get to your residential streets and I think in the next four years weíre going to see an opportunity because the tax revenues will continue to improve, so weíll be able to dedicate more of our dollars to capital improvement issues like roads and sidewalks and that type of thing. So thatís number two. 

And then the third, which actually creates the opportunity and funding for the other two is concentrating on the jobs and the economic development and thatís been my forte.  Iíve chaired the Regional Growth and Development Committee for our council for the last four years and Iíve tried to work closely with the development.  Letís take ProMedica.  There was a little bit of controversy about Promenade Park and that type of thing, but as soon as I met with them early on and saw their vision and their plans, you talk about bringing that many jobs into downtown Toledo, well the end result of that is itís a lot more tax revenue coming into the city that, again, could be dedicated toward keeping a strong police and fire force and to paving more streets.  So those are my three core issues I think for the next four years.

Perryman: Well how do you carry out your plan?  What will you do specifically to improve the safety and to bring more economic development into the area?

Ludeman: Larry Sykes chairs the finance committee and Iíve been on that for many years and I think the main thing is weíve been through some pretty rough years trying to scramble to pay bills and I think now that the economyís come around the last couple years I think we keep a fine eye on making sure that the general fund budget is properly funded and then the capital improvement budget is fully funded as far as roads and streets and that type of thing.  But a lot of the direction obviously comes from whoever will be mayor.  They set the budget.  Council can amend the budget if we wish to, but typically there are not a lot of major changes to the budget as presented by whoever the mayor is.  And I think then we have to keep a finger on the pulse of our administration and the mayor to make sure that we fund classes for our new recruits to come in to keep the levels of officers up. 

Perryman: Lastly, from the perspective of the central city, although we are seeing increased economic activity as a result of ProMedica relocating people downtown, that activity appears to be more or less a consolidation or moving people from one place to another. We also continue to see an exodus from the area like Hickory Farmsí relocation to Chicago.

 So how do we overcome that and also spread the wealth?  How do we attract businesses to the inner city?  How do we include other neighborhoods besides downtown in revitalization efforts and what do we have that will attract other businesses from outside the area?

Ludeman:  Well, I think one thing is we donít really have control over this in city council, but I do think education is paramount.  Somehow or another between Toledo Public and the Toledo Catholic Schools and others, the charter schools, along with partnership I think with parents and grandparents or whoever, is a great thing.  Instilling the pride of knowledge and of looking toward a goal of at some point whether its college or junior college or going into a trade, that we work together.

Then, jobsÖ I do think that one opportunity that has occurred is the Overland Industrial Park and the fact that that is right in the middle of the central city.  I plan to go to Danaís ribbon cutting because Iíve got to believe that there are opportunities there and I think that was one of the reasons that the different entities that are in Overland decided to construct there was to try to help some of the people that are in the surrounding neighborhood. 

But I think if we enhance some of those possibilities and work with the private sector, whether itís financial incentives or zoning or whatever, and to try to use our abilities through the mayor and council to look to kind of enhance opportunities for folks that are located in the central city. 

The other thing is that 55 percent of our housing stock in Toledo is rental and I know itís been a tough road with those foreclosures and everything else, but if we can get folks some jobs and work with the lenders and the land bank to start doing more homeownership, that I think will help to revitalize some of the neighborhoods. Pride in home ownership is one of the great tenets of our country and hopefully we can increase home ownership in the central city and other parts of the city.

Contact Rev. Donald Perryman, D.Min, at drdlperryman@centerofhopebaptist.org



Copyright © 2017 by [The Sojourner's Truth]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 08/16/18 14:12:34 -0700.



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