Archive for February 19, 2008

Lorain’s First Lady- Melisa Krasienko

by Loraine Ritchey contact
Lorain Has a new Mayor and as I watched his Inauguration my eye was drawn to his wife and family , who supported him through the many,many events they “all attended” in his campaign. Mayor Krasienko Photo Henery Hawk

There was pride on their faces and a few tears. The next logical step for me was to ask Lorain’s New First Lady, Melisa Krasienko her thoughts:

Q: You have been through “council campaigns” with your husband before his bid for Mayor. Would you say there was any difference between a council campaign and a Mayoral campaign from the “family’s” viewpoint?

Yes, I would have to say I noticed the difference with our first at-large race. The mayoral campaign was similar to this race but much more time consuming for us as a family. Many sacrifices were made by the children and myself. There were plenty of times I had to rearrange my work schedule to be available for a fundraiser in the evening or on the weekend.

There were more functions to attend as you are expected to be at functions/fundraisers throughout the whole city. This was much more time consuming for Tony as he put in numerous hours not only attending regular council meetings, but also fundraisers and trying to keep everything on task for the campaign.

Before Tony decided to run for Mayor we had a family meeting – we had to be “all in” or he was not going to run and the response was “let’s do it Dad.” It was at that point that we explained to them as it would be very time consuming and he would be “absent” from a lot of things that he would normally be at. His goals were to win the election and try to turn things around for their future.

Q:What are the minuses (again from the wife and family view) to having a husband in the public eye?


From the family’s point of view I would have to say the cons of being in the public eye is just that. Not only is Tony under a microscope for everything that he does or any of the decisions he makes but so are we as the wife and children. Nothing is “private” anymore as I keep reminding my kids.

Q:What is on the plus side?

When asking my kids for their opinion they all responded with the same answer –”getting to meet important people.” They enjoyed meeting Ted Strickland, Betty Sutton and Sherrod Brown just to name a few. My oldest, Erica, even met John Kerry when he was running for President. Many of their friends or friends families are not very involved in politics and are not aware who their council person is let alone their Senator, State Representative, Congresswoman/congressman et cetera. This is very exciting for them.

Q:Obviously, being in the public eye your husband is going to get criticized possibly vehemently, at times in the media. How do you deal with that as a wife and how do you talk to your children about this public criticism of their “Dad”


I personally try to limit what I read. Sometimes, things are better left unsaid. The children are very good about this. Tony has had many articles in the paper or letters stating good and bad. As we always like to see the good, I tried to explain to them that Tony will not make everyone happy and everyone is entitled to their own opinion. (The joys of living in a free country). With every decision he makes, someone will be upset for one reason or another and that is okay. We have to agree to disagree sometimes, but ultimately we (the family) know the decisions he makes are in the best interest of the citizens as a whole, not for a personal agenda.

I also try to keep the lines of communication open and I think we have talked about this so often, they are not even affected by it. I believe they learned very early on as some of the kids were “born into politics.”

Q.What would you like to citizens of Lorain to know about Tony, the man?

I do not think there is much the citizen’s do not know about Tony. He is a dedicated husband and father and he truly cares and wants what’s best for the city. What you see is what you get. He is actively involved with the children by coaching the girls’ volleyball teams and the boys’ baseball teams. He has also taken in plenty of musicals that the kids have been involved in. Family is very important to Tony.

Q.What of Tony’s goals and plans do you feel personally are most important to you and why?

I would have to say safety. Everyone needs to feel safe in their own home, their neighborhood and in the city. The recent crimes that have been rampant in the city has made everyone “uneasy.” The events that have happened lately could have happened to anyone of us, that could be me, you, your mother or your neighbor.

My mother often tells me my kids are “too involved.” They go from one sport to the next. When the seasons change, so do their activities. I like to think keeping them involved is helping them be well-rounded and at the same time, out of trouble. Tony hopes to have more activities for our youth in the city, which I think could help tremendously.

Q.What would you like the citizens of Lorain to do to help?


I would like to see more people step up in the community. Let’s work together with our neighbors and fight for our streets to be safe for our kids, who after all, are our future. We are all in this together.

Q.What do you think the role of Lorain’s First Lady is?


I believe the role of the First Lady is to continue to do what I am doing. I have always been by my husbands side and will continue to support him – after all I believe I have been the first lady for the last 18 years (19 in July).

Q.How difficult is it to balance the needs of family life with the needs of the constituents?


It is very difficult but nothing a woman can’t handle. The city has a very busy schedule as do I and my children. It is sometimes difficult to shuffle, which is where my family usually steps in and we usually make it work. We try to do something as a family on the weekends, be it attending their basketball games, volleyball games, seeing a movie or just having dinner and a movie at home. Occasionally Tony and I get away for a dinner with just the two of us.

Q.What was going through your mind as you watched your husband take the Oath of Office from Sherrod Brown?

There were many different emotions going on at that point. I was very proud, excited, and relieved. There were many people involved with our successful campaign and I was very proud to see this moment. It was very exciting to see Council chambers filled with standing room only. Like they said, that normally does not happen on a “good” occasion. I was relieved that the hustle and bustle was over (for the time-being) and how rewarding the win feels. Finally after all the hard work, we can try, one-day-at-a-time, to make a fresh start and watch history in the making with an administration dedicated to bringing out the best the City has to offer


February 19, 2008 at 11:57 pm 6 comments



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February 2008