Prizm News / February 4, 2019 / By Bob Vitale
Jeremy Blake would become Ohio’s third out LGBTQ mayor if he’s elected in November.
By Bob Vitale
Openly gay Newark City Council member Jeremy Blake is filing paperwork today to run for mayor of his hometown.
Blake, who is in the middle of his second council term in the Licking County City of 49,000, vowed in a campaign announcement posted on YouTube that he would be “the people’s mayor.” He introduced a theme of “Our Newark” and said he would address issues of poverty and neighborhood safety as his priorities.
“Our Newark is a city that assures that all kids are warm and fed,” Blake said. “Our Newark is a community that provides safe homes for kids and families. Our Newark can keep the heart of our community, our Downtown, pumping strong, while at the same time our Newark assures that all of our neighborhoods are safe and our neighborhood streets are repaired.”
Blake, a Democrat, will challenge second-term incumbent Mayor Jeff Hall, a Republican, if both emerge as the top two candidates in a May primary. They’re the only two candidates to announce their campaigns so far. The deadline to file for this year’s elections is Wednesday.
Blake was elected to the Newark City Council in 2013 and now is one of two openly gay council members in the city about 30 miles east of Columbus. If elected mayor on Nov. 5, he would become Ohio’s third openly gay local chief executive.
Ron Hirth was elected mayor in the Cincinnati suburb of Golf Manor in 2015 and resigned in 2017 to serves as the village administrator. Kenneth Fallows was the mayor of Haskins, a village south of Toledo, from 1987 to 2007.
In Newark, Blake shepherded passage of a local nondiscrimination ordinance in 2016 that covered gender identity and sexual orientation.
In 2018, he lost a race for the Ohio House in a district that included Newark and other portions of Licking County.