Don Robart is on the move.
Robart, who was voted out of the Cuyahoga Falls mayor's office in November after 28 years leading the city, has a new job working for Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted as a regional liaison and, in the process, is putting in a lot of time and miles on the road.
"I started on Jan. 27," Robart said Wednesday. "That's been fun. I'm in charge of eight counties in the Northeast sector. I'm a liaison between the secretary of state and the different boards of elections."
Those eight counties are Ashtabula, Columbiana, Geauga, Lake, Mahoning, Portage, Stark and Trumbull.
Robart said that he's already been to seven of the eight counties in his coverage area and he's driven to Columbus six or seven times. He said he's logged about 900 miles for the month of February.
"The biggest change is the driving," he said. "Before, I had an eight-minute drive to work."
Robart said his job with the state is full time. His duties include meeting with the four members of each board of election and their director and deputy director and attending hearings, such as one being planned in Stark County where controversy continues over whether the sheriff, George T. Maier, was qualified to hold that position when he was appointed.
Robart said Husted counts on him to follow what's happening "on the ground" and report back with an objective account. "Sometimes he can get a distorted view from the boards," he said.
"It's been real interesting," Robart said. "I'm just getting the feel for the job, but having been involved in politics as long as I have, it comes natural to me. I was delighted when the secretary offered me the job."
On Tuesday, Robart said, he met with Mahoning County election officials in Youngstown and then drove south to Lisbon, the Columbiana County seat.
"I had never been to Lisbon before, but I got there yesterday," Robart said.
"It's been fun finding new places, meeting new people," he said. "And they've all thrown out the red carpet for me because they realize I'm the go-between for the secretary of state."
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