Thursday, December 02, 1999

Mayor replaces state rep hopeful

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        FOREST PARK — The city will start the new millennium with a new mayor, while the old one embarks on a campaign for the Ohio House of Representatives.

        Stephanie Summerow Dumas was chosen mayor by a 4-3 vote Wednesday by Forest Park's city council. She takes the place of Wayne Coates, who plans to seek the Democratic nomination for the 32nd District state house seat being vacated by Dale Van Vyven, R-Sharonville.

        Mr. Coates, 51, whose four-year mayoral term expired this year, has two years left to serve on council. However, he said he plans to resign this week so he can devote all his energy to his new campaign.

        “Four years ago when I became mayor, I made a pledge that I would not seek another office while I held the office of mayor,” he said. “I wanted to be sure I kept my word.”

        Ms. Dumas, 44, who has lived in Forest Park for 12 years and served on council for six years, said, “I feel I have the best interest of Forest Park at heart. I feel God has led me to this position. I could not turn away this opportunity, and hopefully we can work together as a team.”

        Councilman James Lawler praised her “experience, her enthusiasm and her knowledge of the city.”

        This will be the second time Mr. Coates has tried for a spot in the statehouse. He ran in 1994 against then-incumbent Mr. Van Vyven, who now is leaving office because his term limit is up.

        “I have done what I think is a substantial amount of work for Forest Park, and now there's an open (statehouse) seat, and the timing is right,” Mr. Coates said. “I've got the experience, I've got the love of public service, and what I've learned and attained in Forest Park, I can use as a tool on the state level.”

        Mr. Coates has served 10 years on council. He said he was especially proud of the economic development that has occurred in the city during that time.

        “Forest Park now probably has close to a billion dollars in real estate development,” he said. “Before I came on council, we were actually borrowing money to do road improvements. I can't single myself out, but I think my voice on council has been very constructive and progressive.”

        The council vacancy left by Mr. Coates will be filled through an application process. Mr. Lewis ran for council in November. One of four candidates in a race for three seats, Mr. Lewis received the least amount of votes.

        So far, Mr. Coates is the only Democrat to have designated a treasurer with the Hamilton County Board of Elections for the 32nd District seat, a step that must be taken before campaign funds can be raised or spent. Others who have done so include Republicans James Dygert of Sharonville, Edgar Loyd of College Hill and James Thomas Raussen of Woodlawn.


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