Former Toledo Fire Chief Mike Bell announces mayoral campaign

By Chrys Peterson - email | bio and Dick Berry - email

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL)- State Fire Marshal Mike Bell has announced his candidacy for Toledo mayor.

Bell addressed supporters in front of Fire Station 25 on Central Ave. Bell says his campaign will focus on four issues: balancing the city budget, saving and creating jobs, preserving home values and stabilizing neighborhoods, and protecting people's safety.

Bell will run as an Independent. He has submitted his resignation as State Fire Marshal effective April 10.

News 11's Chrys Peterson sat down with Mike Bell at his home to talk about this mayoral run.

One thing said about Toledo is, "Sometimes you hear some comments about Toledo, and it's like somehow we just don't have it together. I know the people here are great people, and I feel like just one time -- the right person -- and this city will take off."

Bell believes he is the right person. "I'm gonna go for it, and I have to tell you, it's a little spooky. "I've never run for office, ever. But if it's about treating people right, dealing with issues, I can do that."

Bell was confident and relaxed, making spaghetti sauce at home when Chrys Peterson talked to him about his run for mayor. He believes the recipe for success in the Glass City has two main ingredients: collaboration and cooperation.

"It is about a team approach here," Bell said. He added, "If we can bridge together energy, there's no doubt we can go farther than we've ever been."

Although Bell is a well-known democrat, he's running as an independent candidate, hoping to draw support from all segments of the community.

He's already heard the criticism from those who wonder if he has enough experience to lead city government. He believes he's uniquely qualified. "When you make a decision in the fire service, it can cost someone their life -- one way or the other. So when somebody says you can't make a decision, I would challenge them on what decision they've ever made that might have cost somebody their life."

Mike Bell still wears his firefighter title like a badge of honor. "It's nice when you get to where people know you by one word. They say chief, and they know who you are."

Web Chat

Bell will participate in a live web chat on Thursday, March 26 at 5 p.m.

Candidate reactions

Statement By Keith Wilkowski On Mike Bell's Announcement Of Candidacy For Mayor

"Mike Bell and I have been friends since high school and I respect him. But Toledo needs bold change and Mike's willingness to consider raising taxes is just offering up more of the same. Raising taxes is a grave mistake while so many Toledoans are struggling in the current recession. It sends a terrible signal to the business community at a time when economic development and job creation could not be more important."

Mayoral Candidate Jim Moody Comments On Mike Bell's Campaign Entry

Commenting on Michael Bell's latest entry into the Mayor's race, mayoral candidate Jim Moody said that he, "welcomed Mike Bell's entry and looked forward to a candid and frank conversation on the important issues facing our neighbors" Toledo needs candidates who  "offer a vision, with specifics on how that vision will be obtained" he said. Adding " Toledo can ill afford to do business as it has in the past including the way mayoral campaigns are won and judged".

Moody feels that offering solutions to Toledo's problems early in the decision process is important. "This city is in a downward spiral. The good news is that we have everything to fix our problems here in the Toledo area. I believe any candidate who holds back on offering their solutions for Toledo as a campaign tactic does not have Toledo's best interests in mind"