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Top Stories This Week in the Chronicle.
June 9, 2006

Toledo City Council gets its second gay member

Toledo--Four and a half months after Louis Escobar stepped down as president of Toledo City Council, that body appointed its second openly gay member and its first lesbian councilor.

Lourdes Santiago beat out fellow Democrat Bob Vasquez in a seven-to-four vote after receiving the endorsement of the Lucas County Democratic Party. City Council voted in her favor on May 23 and she was sworn in at the same meeting.

She was joined by her partner and their son after the swearing-in, the Toledo Blade reported.

Santiago was appointed to the seat vacated by Bob McCloskey when he stepped down on May 2, prior to pleading guilty or no contest to a total of three counts of bribery between U.S. district court and Lucas County Common Pleas Court.

Santiago, who is from Puerto Rico, graduated from the University of Toledo Law School in 1979, and has worked for the city for 23 years. She was the acting director of the Department of Development and of the Department of Neighborhoods under former Mayor Carty Finkbeiner, and her most recent post was senior attorney in the city�s taxation division.

She has resigned that post, as is required, and now works for the private law firm Gallon, Takacs, Boissoneault and Schaffer.

Santiago is a board member of Equality Toledo, the city�s LGBT equal rights organization.

She ran for Toledo Municipal Court last November but lost. During that race, she acknowledged to the Gay People�s Chronicle that she is lesbian but asked that it not be revealed by a story so it wouldn�t become a focus of the campaign. She has not returned calls for this report.

Santiago will have to run this November to retain the at-large seat for the remainder of McCloskey�s term.

Vasquez, who ran unsuccessfully without his party�s endorsement for an at-large seat in the last election, said that he will also compete for the seat in November, along with David Schultz, an openly gay Republican who was also stymied in his council bid in 2005.

Lourdes Santiago joins four other openly gay and lesbian city council members across the state: Mary Jo Hudson in Columbus, Mark Tumeo in Cleveland Heights, Joe Santiago in Cleveland and Nicki Antonio in Lakewood.

Joe Lacey in Dayton made history last November when he became Ohio�s first openly gay school board member, while Kenneth Fallows of Haskins, 15 miles south of Toledo, remains the state�s only out mayor.

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