Ohio Sen 25th: Mason (D) Meets the Bloggers
I didn't have time to post this before I rushed out of town last Friday, but it's too important to leave undone. On July 13th, State Rep. Lance T. Mason (D-Cleveland), who is running for term-limited State Sen. Eric Fingerhut's 25th District seat, did a Meet the Bloggers interview at the Arabica coffee house in University Circle. Mason is an exceptionally articulate, thoughtful, and personable candidate. It makes me very excited for the future of the Democratic Party in Ohio that we have people of such high caliber seeking to move up to a higher office. He has big shoes to fill, running for Fingerhut's seat, but he gives every indication of having the intelligence and character to do just that. I think there are very big things ahead for him.
Mason grew up in Shaker Heights, Ohio, where his introduction to politics came at a fund-raiser for Richard Celeste, and he subsequently worked on a campaign for present Cuyahoga County Commissioner Peter Lawson Jones. He graduated from Wooster College and received his law degree at the University of Michigan School of Law (a very highly ranked school). After a stint at the Department of Agriculture in Washington, DC, he served as an assistant prosecutor under Stephanie Tubbs Jones. He worked on her Congressional campaign, and ultimately was selected by the Congresswoman for the critical position of District Director. In 2002 he was appointed to the Ohio House of Representatives to replace Peter Lawson Jones.
We had a wide-ranging discussion of issues and politics. (The audio of our interview is available here.) He reports that the key issues on the minds of voters in his district are economic development, education, and affordable healthcare. I thought that his comments about school funding and renewable energy were impressively articulate and detailed, and he had thoughtful things to say about term limits, bipartisanship, and gerrymandering, among other topics.
Mason is opposed by former Euclid mayor David Lynch, who ran for Mayor of Cleveland last year. Mason declined to talk about his opponent very much, but he did question how much Lynch really wants the job of state senator, pointing out that Lynch was reportedly a potential Lieutenant Governor running mate for Ken Blackwell or a potential opponent for County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora, and that Lynch pulled petitions for the state senator race just one day before the deadline, and finally that Lynch has also expressed interest in the position of Director for the Port of Cleveland.
I tried to get Mason to identify a role model as a politician and as a legislator, but he demurred. However, it is clear that he is very influenced by his former employer Rep. Tubbs Jones and his predecessor in office, County Commissioner Peter Lawson Jones.
This is a person to watch in the years to come.