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Five City Commission Candidates Vie For Two Open Seats

On Tuesday, voters will see five names on the primary ballot for Dayton City Commissioner.

The incumbent candidate, City Commissioner Matt Joseph, says the eleven years he’s been in office have been spent keeping Dayton on course amid economic downturns and job losses, but he believes more jobs can be created.

“We need to put every resource we can toward helping out entrepreneurs; you know making sure there’s support of business climate, making sure that there are mentors available to help those folks who are starting up,” the current commissioner said.

Joseph believes commercial and retail business will follow the growing residential population downtown.

The other four candidates are relative newcomers to the political scene, although each experience in community service.

Darryl Fairchild is the current pastor at Bellbrook United Methodist Church. He’s been active in community affairs for 25 years and says so far, Dayton hasn’t struck a balance between developing downtown and attention to residential neighborhoods.

Fairchild noted, "So, I would give a voice to the issues citizens have in their neighborhoods and concerns that they have about simple things like ongoing crime, the conditions of roads, giving attention to our schools.”

Hazel Rountree currently serves as ombudsperson in the president’s office at Wright State University, and is a member of the Dayton Public School Board.  She says her experience in problem solving makes her a good fit for city commissioner.

“I think it’s important to talk and to hash things out but I think our community is ready for results,” she said.

Rountree says although there is less polarization between east and west Dayton than in the past, continuing to bridge those communities would be among her priorities.

Candidate Chris Shaw is a lifelong Dayton resident and a small business owner. He also says the city is poised for a rebound.

“We are now positioned to take advantage of opportunities that will come down the pike and I want to really be involved in that process,” Shaw said.

He says developing a well trained workforce will also bring new business to the city.

Scott Sliver is the executive director of The Hope Foundation of Greater Dayton, an organization that provides food to households in Greene and Montgomery counties. He says filling up Dayton’s large amount of empty office space downtown and revitalizing surrounding neighborhoods top his list of priorities.

“Everything rises and falls on leadership," he said. "Someone has to wave their hands and go ‘hey, give the neighborhoods a boost and make them feel valued, and a sense of pride' again, that I think is really lacking.”

All the candidates named economic development as part of their major platforms.

Tuesday’s runoff election will allow four of them to move on to the November ballot where two city commission seats will be filled. Commissioner Dean Lovelace is retiring after 22 years on the commission.  The other seat is currently held by incumbent candidate Matt Joseph.