Lucal to be only Democrat on council until vacancy is filled

Cary Ashby • Jul 10, 2018 at 4:00 AM

The Huron County Democratic Party (HCDP) is seeking to fill the vacancy for the fourth ward on Norwalk city council created by the recent resignation of Chris Castle.

Castle started serving in January 2016 and was in the third year of his four-year term. His resignation, which involved residency requirements, was effective Wednesday, the day after his last council meeting.

“If we could have found another middle-class rental property in ward four, we certainly would have done that, but there was nothing on the market. Primarily, as anybody (who) rents in this town knows, there are primarily apartments and it’s hard to find a full house,” said Castle, who also noted in an earlier interview that “being elected by a majority of my peers was one of the greatest honors of my life.”

“I took it very seriously and I put a great deal of time into everything that came across our desk,” he added.

Interested Democrats who reside in Norwalk’s fourth ward can send a letter of interest, highlighting their qualifications to the HCDP in care of chairwoman Sue Lesch at suelesch2@gmail.com by July 16. The new member will be appointed by the HCDP central committee members who reside in Norwalk.

Until someone the fourth-ward vacancy is filled, Deb Lucal is the only Democrat on council.

“It’s going to be a challenge,” she said.

At-large Councilman Jordy Horowitz is an Independent and the rest of the council members are Republicans.

Lucal, who represents the first ward, was asked if anyone has approached her or the rest of the local Democratic party about representing the fourth ward.

“None that I know of, because no one saw this coming,” she said, referring to Castle’s resignation. “But I can understand his decision.”

Lucal said she thought Castle served the city well and made decisions with the residents’ wishes in mind.

Lesch also commended Castle’s service.

“We thank Chris Castle for his innovative leadership and good service to the city of Norwalk as a city councilman. He saw us in a new way. His energy and creativity brought us Imagine Norwalk and other important projects. We hope he stays involved,” said the chairwoman of the Huron County Democratic Party.

Samantha Wilhlem, a Republican who represents the third ward, is hoping the Democrats find someone who is passionate.

“I’m hoping that we find someone that has the excitement and vision that Chris Castle brought and is tenacious like Bob Carlton,” she added. “This little town is great and we need to celebrate that.”

If the Democrats don’t make an appointment within 30 days, Norwalk Mayor Rob Duncan can make an appointment. He is the leader of the Huron County Republicans.

“I foresee them finding someone in 30 days. I’m anticipating having a new council member by August,” Wilhelm said.

Norwalk Reflector Videos