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Friday, May 7, 2010

The rise of a mentor and his apprentice - Chronicle Telegram

Dan Ramos emerged as a political force in Lorain County on Tuesday. His mentor, Joe Koziura, reemerged.

In winning the Democratic nomination for Koziura’s seat in the state House, Ramos, 28, proved himself an apt student of politics and proved Koziura an effective teacher. Not long after Ramos, of Lorain, graduated from The Ohio State University with a degree in political science, he became an aide to Koziura in Columbus.

He went on to serve as an aide to House Speaker Armond Budish, D-Beachwood, and translated his experience in the Legislature and in others’ campaigns for the state House into victory Tuesday in a four-way race for the 56th District seat.

Koziura, 60, defeated five other candidates to win the Democratic nomination for county commissioner, proving himself a force outside the confines of his safefor- Democrats House district. He ran for commissioner in part because he had reached the limit on the number of terms he could serve in the House. His victory in the primary dispelled doubts that he could win any other office, doubts that grew out of his losses in 1999 and 2003 in races for mayor of Lorain.

Ramos and Koziura are an odd pair, to be sure.

“I learned a lot from Joe,” Ramos told us in April, “but we’re very different people.”

No kidding. Ramos, the son of a teacher at Lorain County Community College and former member of the Lorain school board, is reserved and academic in demeanor. Koziura, son of a steelworker, is blunt and profane.

Despite the differences in personality and age, both men benefited from living in Lorain, the county’s biggest and most Democratic community. The only candidate in the House race from outside Lorain, Richard Williams of New Russia Township, finished last. Koziura and the other commissioner candidate from Lorain, Bret Schuster, finished first and third. Vic Stewart III, the second-place finisher, is from Elyria.

Ramos and Koziura also share front-runner status as they head into the general election. Henry Lewandowski Jr. of Lorain is the Republican candidate for the House seat. He was unopposed in the primary.

Thomas Williams Jr. of Elyria defeated Maurice Corbin III of Columbia Station for the GOP nomination for commissioner. Independents Kirk Stewart of Elyria, Vic Stewart’s brother, and Mike Nunez of Penfield Township are also in the race.

If Koziura wins in November, the commissioner’s job likely will cap a long career in public office.

Ramos could hardly find a better example of political durability.

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