DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – In just 2 weeks, voters will be going to the polls for the May election, and there will be five Dayton City Commission candidates on the ballot.
2 NEWS’ Beairshelle Edmé sat down one-on-one with each candidate to talk about their plans for the city.
Incumbent Matt Joseph has served three terms on the city commission, and is looking for a 4th.
Commissioner Joseph says what won’t change his commitment to listen to the community.
If re-elected, he tells Edmé that economic development is key.
“Put a little more investment into entrepreneurship. Put a little more investment into making sure that the land downtown is ready for developers to make sure our neighborhoods look a little better, maybe knock down a few more houses,” he explained when asked about what voters expect to change in a new term, if elected. “Do better outreach to the neighbors, like things like this that really prepare the ground for what’s gonna be a good boom for Dayton, I feel, in the next few years.”
Christopher Shaw, owner of Shaw Cleaners, a local, family business of more than 100 years.
Shaw believes the Gem City must draw in more people, specifically young professionals.
The Chamber of Commerce board member says that will build the city’s tax base plus, “Business development and workforce investment so that people, our citizens, can take advantage of the opportunities and high-tech manufacturing that are coming down the line.” Shaw suggested as solutions when asked about issues he hopes to tackle if elected. “It’s very important to me that– I know that businesses are encouraged to move to the area if they have a well-trained skilled workforce.”
Another candidate is Hazel Rountree, a Dayton Board of Education member who holds a law degree.
The Wright State University ombudsperson believes poverty is the greatest issue in the city.
Rountree says people are neglected and voiceless, but she has a plan to end what she sees as a city-wide epidemic.
To address what she sees as poverty, Rountree, if elected, believes “We need to bring in and attract and invite employers who will be willing to work with us and then as a government we need to incentivize those individual kinds of companies to come in and work with us and train our citizens so that the people who are here, the people who have toughed it out, the people who have stayed to make this city the great city that it is can have jobs.”
Darryl Fairchild, a Bellbrook United Methodist lead pastor, is also making a run for one of two commission seats that are up for grabs.
Fairchild is proud of what he sees as accomplishments of uniting the city, specifically he references his work following 9-11 tension when he created the city’s interfaith forum.
The reverend says 20 years of building local relationships helps him make meaningful collaborations.
And together with city leaders, he believes, if elected, they can reform education, all while boosting economic development.
He plans to, “Concentrate our resources around the four or five blocks right around schools and clean those up. Take down blighted buildings. Encourage redevelopment in that neighborhood so that families have an attractive place, a safe neighborhood to move into. And I think if we focused our resources there, the schools would improve, as well as then that– we’d become almost an oasis.”
Candidate Scott Sliver also hopes to fill the seats.
He serves as the executive director for the Greater Dayton Hope Foundation and as an associate pastor at Vineyard Church.
Sliver, a downtown resident, wants to see the area cleaned up by addressing both hunger and drug addiction.
His big focus is for his backyard to be a hotbed for economic development.
“Attracting business, finding entrepreneurs, turning them loose- the developers and the CEOs- and letting them do what they do best and I think its our responsibility as a commission and a city government to make it as easy for them to do it as possible,” Sliver described.
All five Daytonians want your vote, but only four will make it to the General Election in November.
Those that make it, will work to earn the top two spots, candidates who earn the most votes.
It is those two who will fill the commission seats, but that decision is left to you, the voter.
A forum, hosted by the League of Women Voters, will take place 6:30 p.m. Monday the downtown Dayton Library.