Dayton city commission candidates discuss youth development ideas

Incumbent commissioners Chris Shaw and Matt Joseph will face challengers Marcus Bedinger and Valerie Duncan in the November election

The four people running for two Dayton City Commission seats in the November election answered a series of questions during a candidate event held this week by the Dayton Unit NAACP, including one about what they propose doing to help young people.

Incumbent commissioners Chris Shaw and Matt Joseph face challengers Marcus Bedinger and Valerie Duncan for seats on the city commission.

Asked about youth development, Shaw said he helped acquire funding to set up an apprenticeship program that will provide young people access and exposure to the building trades.

He said this program will help youth develop skills they need for some of the high-paying jobs that are coming to the region, especially at and around the Dayton International Airport.

Bedinger, a retail manager and first-time political hopeful, said there’s economic despair in the city that is impacting the community’s psyche.

Bedinger, who has two young children in preschool and kindergarten in the Dayton Public Schools, said this stems from a lack of good jobs and limited access to health care and other problems in parts of the city.

Bedinger said the city needs new leadership because downtown has seen huge investments while other neighborhoods of the city have been neglected and are crumbling.

Joseph said it’s imperative the city partners with the Dayton school board, churches and other community organizations to try to improve the outlook for its youth.

Joseph said the city promoted and voters years ago approved an earnings tax increase that provides funding to help ensure that all 4-year-olds in the city habe access to good-quality preschool.

Joseph said the city’s recreational services are very important and the city is looking at making improvements to its recreational options that will benefit the youth.

Duncan said economic development has a lot of bearing on youth development.

She said too many young people in Dayton live in deteriorating neighborhoods with vacant and blighted houses and boarded-up properties.

She said Dayton has thousands of empty and dilapidated homes, and the city needs new and better programs to fix up many of these properties.

She said the city also needs to take steps to better help prepare young people for high-skilled and high-paying occupations.

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