A “Meet the Candidates” event — featuring political hopefuls seeking to become Dayton’s mayor, city commissioner and trustees in Jefferson Twp. and Harrison Twp. — will be held today.
The event will begin at 6:35 p.m. at Grace United Methodist Church, 1001 Harvard Blvd. in Dayton.
The forum, which also will be streamed online on Facebook, will be hosted by the Dayton Unit NAACP, the League of Women Voters of the Greater Dayton Area, the Dayton Daily News, the Dayton Montgomery County National Pan-Hellenic Council and the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Ohio - Free and Accepted Masons.
The Dayton Unit NAACP’s candidate forums are well respected and illuminating because moderators, sponsors and audience members ask tough questions, said Derrick Foward, president of the organization.
The forum will help voters make informed decisions about their voting choices, he said, adding that the event’s sponsor organizations are some of the most influential groups in Montgomery County, even though they are nonpartisan.
“It is an equal playing field for all candidates,” Foward said. “This gives candidates an opportunity to express their views and opinions and how they will lead.”
Dayton City Commissioner Jeff Mims Jr. and retired Dayton firefighter Rennes Bowers are running for Dayton mayor.
Mims, a Democrat, and Bowers, a self-described biblical conservative, hope to succeed Mayor Nan Whaley, who is running for governor after deciding not to seek a third term.
Meanwhile, four candidates are vying for two Dayton city commission seats: Current commissioner Darryl Fairchild, Shenise Turner-Sloss, Stacey Benson-Taylor and Scott Sliver.
Fairchild won his seat in a special election to fill the vacancy created when Joey Williams stepped down.
Turner-Sloss and Sliver unsuccessfully ran for the commission previously. Benson-Taylor is a political newcomer.
In the Jefferson Twp. trustee race, incumbents Roy Mann Sr. and Mike McLaughlin face off against Sheila Back and Joseph Barnes. Mann and McLaughlin hope to hang onto their seats.
Charles Waldron Jr. and Danielle Bradley are competing to finish out the unexpired term of Harrison Twp. Trustee Ron Casey, who died earlier this year.
Waldron was appointed to the position, but voters will decide who will fill the vacancy for the remaining two years of Casey’s four-year term.
Monday’s forum hopefully will give people opportunity to get to know the candidates and their points of view on issues that directly impact their communities for years to come, said Christine Corba, executive director of the League of Women Voters of the Greater Dayton Area.
Off-year elections tend to have lower turnout, Corba said, but these races are significant and voters need to learn more about the people who want to become the leaders who make decisions affecting their day-to-day lives.
Tom Roberts, the moderator and the second vice president and chair of the Dayton Unit NAACP Political Action Committee. said the event will allow voters to hear first-hand from candidates who will appear on the Nov. 2 ballot.
“Every election is critically important,” he said in a statement. “The candidates elected this November will make decisions at the local level that will affect our lives on a daily basis.”