Three Vie For Montgomery County Commissioner's Seat
Three people are vying for a seat as Montgomery County Commissioner in the election November 4th. The incumbent, Democratic Commissioner Dan Foley, will face off against former Dayton Mayor, independent Gary Leitzell, and Republican Mike Nolan.
Commissioner Foley says the last eight years have been tough on the Miami Valley, but things are getting better.
“You know, while nobody’s walking down the street giving high-fives to each other yet, we are clearly starting to fight back and I’ve played a part in that," he says.
Foley thinks foreign businesses can aid Montgomery County’s economic recovery. The commission is now marketing Dayton in Israel.
“It’s a long-term proposition." Foley adds, "We’re not claiming it’s going to be short term wins, but we think over time Dayton is going to be very well suited to marry up with Israeli companies and create jobs in Dayton, Ohio.”
Foley is seeking his third term as county commissioner. He’ll go head-to-head with someone he knows well, former Dayton Mayor Gary Leitzell, an independent challenger.
Leitzell says he’s concerned about a projected population loss for the county.
“If we’re going to lose 40,000 people in the next fifteen years and nobody’s addressing that, then it’s time someone is willing to stick their neck out and address that.”
But turnout in this election is expected to be low and the city commission race could be decided by just a few thousand votes. In a 2013 run-off election, Leitzell lost a chance at reelection when less than 10,000 residents turned out to vote for the run-off. Foley only won reelection in his last race by a 1.8 percentage point.
The third candidate for commissioner, Republican Mike Nolan, spent 26 years with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office - for nearly five years, overseeing a $45 million budget. The county commissioner’s budget for the sheriff’s office in 2013 was just over $31 million.
“This is occurring in a time when gangs, crime, drugs, are taking over Montgomery County,” he says.
Nolan also served as a Miami Twp. trustee for three years. During that time, the 142 acre, Austin landing retail and business park was completed. The site was criticized early on for drawing businesses out of downtown Dayton, but Nolan says they were on their way out of Montgomery County anyway
“So we tried to work with them to encourage them to stay in Montgomery county to keep the tax base here as well as the employment numbers.”
Crime, population loss, a sluggish economy and declining property values are just some of the issues that a new city commissioner will have to focus on after next week’s election.