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Democratic Chair Endorses Scott Sliver And Stacey Benson-Taylor In Crowded City Commissioner Race

Headshot of Mark Owens, chair of the Montgomery Democratic Party. He is wearing a black suit with a red tie.
Wright State University
Mark Owens serves as the chair of the Montgomery County Democratic Party. The party endorsed two candidates for Dayton city commissioner and one candidate for mayor.

WYSO's Mawa Iqbal sits down with chair of the Montgomery County Democratic Party to talk about the city commissioner race.

There are seven candidates running for two open Dayton city commissioner seats. According to local Democratic Party officials, Dayton hasn’t seen a race this crowded in 30 years.

Commissioner Darryl Fairchild is the only incumbent in the race. He’s served for three years.

The other candidates are: Stacey Benson-Taylor, Valerie Duncan, Jared Grandy, Scott Sliver, Shenise Turner-Sloss and Jordan Wortham.

They come from a variety of backgrounds. Some have more experience with local politics and public service than others.

Mark Owens is the chair of the Montgomery County Democratic Party. Five candidates asked for the party’s endorsement this year, but only two got the nod. Owens spoke with WYSO’s Mawa Iqbal about the race.

Transcript (edited lightly for length and clarity)

Mawa Iqbal: Last time we talked, you said that this was a very crowded race, right?

Mark Owens: The last time I can tell we've had this many candidates was in 1989. So it's been that long, which is, what, thirty two years ago? Right?

MI: I was wondering if you could give us the lay of the land for the city commissioner race. You know, there are a lot of different candidates, a lot of different backgrounds and experiences.

MO: We have seven candidates running. The Democratic Party has endorsed two of those candidates. We endorsed Stacy Benson-Taylor for the last 20 years. She worked for AFSCME, which represents the city employees. Additionally, we have Scott Sliver, who is a minister and is also a small business owner as well. They both have some experiences that way. I know Scott was a past, I think about six years ago, ran for city commission himself, came close to winning. But the first time he's run since then. A couple of the others I know that obviously, Darryl Fairchild, he's an incumbent. We've had a former police officer who's running. Yeah. So we have Jared Grandy, Valerie Duncan, Jordan Wortham, and Shenise Turner-Sloss have all been former city employees.

MI: Why endorse Scott Sliver and Stacy Benson-Taylor, how did you guys come to that decision?

MO: Well, you know, we had five of the seven come to us for an endorsement. Jordan Wortham is a registered Republican, so he did not come. And Darrell Fairchild chose not to screen with us this time. And they all give their presentations. I think it was the consensus of our party is that Stacy Benson-Taylor and Scott Sliver give us the best all around backgrounds and their beliefs, we thought they would be best to run the city.

MI: And I was wondering, like, what about them stood out specifically? And we can start with Scott first. What about his background really resonated with you all?

MO: Well, the fact that, again, he had a business himself. He's worked with the church. He's worked with a food bank that he helps run. So he's very involved with the community. He's worked with the Human Relations Council as a volunteer and he's worked with the NAACP as a volunteer as well. Stacey, again, with her background as representing working people, working with the union. Again, she's worked with the Human Relations Council as a volunteer. She's also worked extensively with the NAACP and with other church organizations. I think they both had very strong backgrounds.

MI: I know that you mentioned Jerry Grandy and Shenise Turner-Sloss, and I found that they've been getting some attention recently. So I was wondering what made you guys not endorse them?

MO: Well, I think, again, I mean, I can't speak for everyone because, you know, we had an election and etc., but I think it was just that the overall backgrounds of of Stacy Benson-Taylor and Scott Sliver were just stronger, that we felt that they had the best ability to move the city forward — working with the neighborhoods, working with, I know like I said earlier, we have had issues and and the city has come up with police reform. And we think that because of their varied backgrounds, that they have the ability to implement those police reforms that have been brought forward to the commission. And whoever gets elected will have the responsibility for implementing them. And that were their backgrounds with working with both neighborhoods, with working the business to bring in jobs to the city. And also just we're working with our neighborhoods and working with new places like the Human Relations Council and with the NAACP and others, you know, working with food banks, that they understand what the people need and what's best for our neighborhoods. And we think that they have the best background for that. And we think that they can move the city forward with that.

In addition to the city commission race, the Democratic Party has endorsed Jeffrey Mims in his bid to become Dayton’s next mayor.