LISBON - John Soldano has announced his candidacy for sheriff of Columbiana County.
The Leetonia police chief said he will be filing his petitions this week to run in the Democratic primary in March.
This will be Soldano's fourth consecutive run for the top job in county law enforcement. He lost the Democratic primary to Gary Clark in 2000, before losing in the general election in 2004 to Dave Smith and 2008 to current Sheriff Ray Stone,
"I have never lost interest in this position," Soldano said. "Anytime someone runs four times for a position, you know he is pretty serious about it.
"Being sheriff of Columbiana County would be a step up in my law enforcement career," Soldano continued. "I feel I am very qualified for the job."
Those qualifications include 14-plus years as chief of the Leetonia police department. Soldano began his career in Wellsville, leaving there for a job in Leetonia in 1989. He became Leetonia's chief in 1997.
During his time as a patrolman, Soldano also worked eight years in the corrections field, the last at the state prison in St. Clairsville. He left that job when he became chief.
Soldano cited that experience as a plus in case the county ever took back control of the county jail, and his experience as chief of his own department as a positive in administration, perhaps the biggest duty of a county sheriff.
But Soldano pledges not to ignore the nuts and bolts business of crime.
"One very important thing I feel we need to do, and I would do, is to make sure a homicide task force is created," Soldano said. "That is one of my top priorities.
"These unsolved homicides really bother me," he continued. "It is hard to imagine what it is like for these families, to get through each day without closure."
Soldano envisions a countywide task force, covering the sheriff's department, all other police departments, the highway patrol and prosecutor's office. Initial meetings already have been held, he said.
Soldano feels this is one of the issues "that need to be addressed, and I will be willing to address those issues when the campaign gets going."
Soldano does not expect to have opposition in the Democratic primary, and expects to have the support of the party.
"The chairman (Denny Johnson) has pledged his support for me," Soldano said. "We have had several discussions over the last several weeks about this campaign, and they are 100 percent in support of me running for sheriff again."
Soldano has already hit the ground running. "We did a little social networking and got a positive response from people all over the country who want me to run again."
"I want to run again."