At least 300 people attended a Monday fundraiser for Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, the newest Democrat to jump in the race for governor.The fundraiser comes exactly one year before Ohio’s primary election (May, 8, 2018). It capped a day in which she gave 18 interviews to media from across the state.
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Visitors wore “I’m a Nan Fan” stickers and contributions ranged from $50 for attendees to $5,000 for hosts.
Whaley is a talented and effective communicator who can show she cares about people, government and policy, said Dan Foley, Montgomery County commissioner.
“She’s worked hard as mayor and will make a great statewide candidate and I think it will also help shine a light on some great things that have happened in Dayton, Ohio,” Foley said.
Paraphrasing Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dayton Commissioner Matt Joseph said Ohio voters should ask themselves if they are better off today than they were four, 10, 25 years ago, and the answer for too many people is no.
“Nan has a wide opening to jump in there, show the successes she’s had in Dayton and extrapolate that out to the state level,” Joseph said. “I think the time is right.”
Dayton Commissioner Joey Williams has served on the city commission with Whaley for about 11.5 years. He said he learned very early on in her tenure that she was a special talent when it comes to vision and leadership.
He said she was fixated on making Dayton a better place for those who “come after us” through investments like infrastructure and home demolition.
Since then, the city has completed nine bridge projects and has two more underway, Williams said, and the city has torn down 3,000 homes in the last decade, which has helped struggling neighborhoods heal and move toward revival.
Flanked by her family, husband and city commission colleagues, Whaley told her supporters that Ohio is a diverse state, but its residents share doubts, fears and frustrations.
RELATED: More photos from kickoff event
While running for president, Gov. John Kasich claimed the state was in the midst of a rebirth that he called “the Ohio Miracle,” Whaley said.
But Ohio’s policies have failed and the state has lagged the rest of the nation in job growth for four years, Whaley said.
“Even Gov. Kasich now admits Ohio has fallen into a recession,” Whaley said. “The Ohio Miracle my friends is nothing more than the Ohio mirage.”
Whaley blasted Ohio’s current elected leaders, claiming their policies have crippled cities and towns and have resulted in job losses, unsafe neighborhoods and deteriorating streets and roadways.
Whaley again said Ohio must stop giving tax breaks to the wealthy. She said pharmaceutical companies must be held accountable for fueling opiate addiction, which is a devastating problem, with Ohio leading the nation in overdose deaths.
“The opiate crisis is a scourge on this state. We must get serious about dealing with it. If we don’t, all our goals of creating jobs and growing the economy will get further and further out of reach,” she said.
“Don’t let anyone tell you that Ohio’s best days are past,” Whaley said. “Our time isn’t past — our time is now.”