COLUMBUS — A Sidney native has been elected to a Franklin County office in Columbus.
Danny O’Connor began his duties as Franklin County recorder, Jan. 2. He’s come a long way since he took his first job: checking people in and working in the Buckeye Cafe in the Sidney YMCA. His next job was working for his father, then the director of Dorothy Love Retirement Community, now called Ohio Living Dorothy Love, doing landscaping. The younger O’Connor lived in Sidney until he graduated from Lehman Catholic High School and moved to Fairborn to attend Wright State University.
In 2013, he received his Juris Doctor from Syracuse University and soon after, opened his own law firm, Weis and O’Connor, in Columbus. Between schools, he spent a year in the South Bronx in New York, the country’s poorest congressional district, working for the Jesuits in a legal clinic. O’Connor’s Catholic faith is very important to him.
“It’s given me a strong belief in public service,” he told the Sidney Daily News, recently. He chose Columbus for the law firm because, he said, “I saw it as a place where I could work and grow as a person.”
The recorder’s position is the young Democrat’s first elective office.
“I saw an office not run as well as I thought it could be,” he said of why he decided to throw his hat into the race. He beat a previous recorder in the general election and had won the primary over the incumbent by following “a carefully executed game plan. My whole family worked hard on my campaign: parents, sister, aunts, uncles, cousins all got involved. People were excited about what we were saying, idea-wise,” he said.
During the campaign, O’Connor communicated to voters where he thought the recorder’s office could go:
“The office issues veteran ID cards. We need to go beyond that and connect vets with job opportunities, health care, mental care. We are the largest property records office in the state. There are a lot of American dreams that we’re taking care of here. For me, it’s about how people can find the resources to purchase a home. I saw an office operating in a fiscal way that wasn’t ideal. There were some budget shortfalls. That money belongs to the taxpaying people. With my small business background, I could clean that up,” he said.
He won, he said, because “people saw me as someone who could serve the public well. We need more people who are willing to jump in and sacrifice a bit of themselves to give back to the public.”
O’Connor has already started to keep his campaign promises. He hired a Marine veteran to help with veterans services. He’s had meetings with elected Republican officials. He credits his Sidney upbringing with his ability and willingness to work with members of the opposing party.
“As a Democrat, we were always in the minority in Sidney. What I got growing up and having friends across the aisle is we’re not all that different. We have the same dreams, hopes. Those values of hard work and humility are what won me the election — small town values that translate well to cities and suburbs, too,” he said.
When he’s not working, O’Connor likes to fish, golf and follow Buckeye football, all pursuits he began in Sidney.
“I would fish Lake Loramie. It’s different when you’re in the city, that’s for sure,” he said.
He wouldn’t say if this election will be the jumping-off place for achieving greater political goals. Right now, it’s about serving the public in the best way he can.
“There are hard-working people in this district. They deserve for me to put forth my best effort every day,” he said.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4824.