(Editor’s Note: This is another in a series of profiles on candidates for local elected offices in Northeast Ohio.)
NORTH OLMSTED, Sept. 25 – What kind of person volunteers at least 100 hours a year to help advance the speaking skills of teenagers?
What kind of person wants to solve municipal problems in a collaborative way, saving his community millions of dollars while improving its infrastructure?
That person exists, in the form of a young resident who’s stepping out in a desire to serve the public on North Olmsted City Council.
ALEJANDRO CHOCK is just shy of age 30, but he possesses a great intellect and excellent problem-solving skills. He also wants to make a positive difference in the world, so he chose to toss his hat in the ring in May and run for City Council in Ward Four of North Olmsted.
With a boundary close to Clague Road to the East, Lorain Road to the North, Dover Center Road to the West, and Brook Park and Olmsted Township to the South, Ward Four includes Great Northern Mall. (See map below.) It also contains some of the oldest homes in North Olmsted, a city with a population of about 33,000 residents.
“You’re never too young or old to make a difference, and I’m running because I want to help make a positive difference for North Olmsted,” Chock explains. “We have an aging infrastructure, and we can no longer afford to miss out on valuable funding opportunities improve our water quality and sewage systems and save our residents many millions of dollars.”
Chock is a graduate of Berea Midpark High School and has a civil engineering degree from The Ohio State University. His wife Kristen, whom he met while at Ohio State, works in supply chain management for Northeast Ohio’s largest hospital network. Chock is a transportation engineer for a private engineering firm, and that work has provided him with valuable experience and insight. He’s also been a speaker at national engineering professional development conferences, and has published research in his field.
“I think my perspective as an engineer gives me a unique ability to serve as a resource to City Council and the community. Our Council lacks this experience, and it has missed out on several opportunities as a result,” Chock says. “Having experience working directly with the State and working directly on issues of municipal infrastructure provides me with a useful perspective on how we can continue to improve our community, and also how we can best position ourselves for new and existing sources of funding.”
Chock addressed issues and opportunities for North Olmsted in a League of Women Voters public forum on September 20. In it, he addressed the need for a fresh perspective on City Council that would save also save money and solve flooding and water issues. He supports the City of North Olmsted’s master plan, and also wants to rehire an economic development director for the city. Below is a link to the forum.
VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR
A member of the Berea-Midpark speech and debate team while in high school, he finished in third place his senior season among 162 competitors statewide in the category of Congressional Debate. Chock now gives back by serving as a judge for high school speech and debate tournaments in the Cleveland District of the Ohio Speech and Debate Association (OSDA). His volunteer service in this capacity has impressed dozens of educators across Northeast Ohio and all over the state.
“When Alejandro was selected as the National Speech and Debate Association North Coast District’s Volunteer of the Year, it was because of his steadfast devotion to helping students become great debaters through his constructive criticism, careful consideration of issues, and his knowledge of debate,” says Amy Roediger, Science Department Coordinator, Instructional Coach, and speech & debate coach at Mentor High School. “He (Alejandro) regularly volunteers at Ohio tournaments and, as a trusted authority, has served as parliamentarian of our OSDA Final Rounds (in Congressional Debate) many times. I know he’ll bring all those same qualities to an elected office.”
One of Chock’s colleagues is Tyler Parsons, the assistant speech and debate coach at Vermilion High School. They were opponents in tournaments 10-12 years ago, and now are close friends.
“Alejandro has long been the pinnacle of honesty and integrity in the Congressional Debate Community,” Parsons says. “There’s no doubt that he will continue to display those qualities as a City Councilman for North Olmsted.”
A POSITIVE RESPONSE, GREAT CARING AND CONCERN
Since Chock began knocking on doors in July, he’s been encouraged at what voters have shared in their conversations.
“Generally I’m hearing a positive reaction to what I’m saying as I go door-to-door in Ward Four,” Chock adds. “Taxes are big issue. Flooding is another, as is maintenance of road and sewers and also economic development. People want to see these issues addressed, and also to keep high-quality city services.”
One of the people most impressed with Chock’s candidacy is his former Berea-Midpark High School coach Ryan Peoples. Peoples also taught Chock in an AP English class,
“Alejandro and I may not agree on political matters, but we’ve always respected each other as human beings with more in common than our differences,” Peoples says. “He will listen to his colleagues and fellow citizens in his community with genuine care and concern, despite any varied opinions initially. There exists no one of whom I’ve been more proud, spanning my over 20 years of coaching and nearly 20 years of professional teaching, than Alejandro Chock. I’m proud to consider him a friend, as well, and I know he would approach (City Council) with class, dignity, and grit his responsibility to his community.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION
On Facebook: https://business.facebook.com/alejandro4ward4/
SOME FAST FACTS FOR BACKGROUND
Chock’s first votes: 2012 Ohio Primary and General Election
Chock’s Opponent: Mary Ellen Hemann (North Olmsted’s elections are non-partisan)
Council Salary: About $15,000 per year (part time)
City Budget: $36 million (2020 expenditures)