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TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) -
On Monday, Lucas County Commissioner Pete Gerken hosted his annual golf outing to raise money for local Democratic candidates. Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern stopped by, and said the party will be active between now and Nov.5, to campaign for Independent Mike Collins in his race against Toledo Mayor Mike Bell.
Redfern credits Collins for opposing proposed changes to collective bargaining in Ohio.
"One of those candidates stood against John Kasich and stood with police, and firefighters, and teachers, and nurses here in northwest Ohio, and said we ought to have the right to collectively bargain. The other stood with John Kasich," said Redfern.
Collins says the support from Ohio Democrats will help define differences between himself and Bell.
"I am not a right-to-work candidate. I am not a union-busting candidate. I was very clear on my position on Senate Bill 5," said Collins.
If elected, Collins says as mayor, he will not tow any party line.
"I'm a candidate for everyone: Democrats, Republicans and Independents," he said.
Gerken points out Collins has the backing of the UAW, of which he's a member.
"If he were mayor, I certainly would look forward to working with him. I work with him on City Council. It's important for the city and county to have good relationships," said Gerken.
The Bell administration released the following statement regarding his re-election campaign:
The mayor has made difficult decisions in balancing the budget without increasing taxes and laying off safety forces. Endorsements are not going to distract voters from a careful examination of the mayor's record and his opponent's record of opposing the decisions which are turning Toledo around.