Daryl vs. Darryl: Dayton City Commission candidates square off before May election

Moderator Jim Otte talks with Dayton City Commission candidate Darryl Fairchild while moderator Etana Jacobi talks with candidate Daryl Ward.
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Moderator Jim Otte talks with Dayton City Commission candidate Darryl Fairchild while moderator Etana Jacobi talks with candidate Daryl Ward.

Debate sponsored by Dayton Daily News, WHIO and League of Women Voters

Daryl Ward and Darryl Fairchild have some things in common. They are both pastors of more than 30 years who are running as Democrats to be the next Dayton city commissioner.

On May 8, Dayton voters will elect one of the two to serve as the newest city commissioner, replacing Joey Williams, who resigned two months ago.

Despite the similarities, Ward and Fairchild at a Tuesday debate tried to show the public that there are important differences in their core priorities and that they are the best person for the job.

Fairchild, the manager of chaplain services at Dayton Children’s Hospital, portrays himself as a strong voice and advocate for the city’s neighborhoods, which he says have been overlooked and desperately need a comprehensive revitalization plan.

Fairchild said unlike his opponent, he’ll be ready to lead from “day No. 1” because of his experience in community organizing, nonprofit work and what he says is a thorough understanding of the political process and main issues facing the city.

Ward, the senior pastor at Omega Baptist Church, depicted himself as a a servant of the community who has a special talent for working with people to get things done.

He said he is running for office because he cares deeply about the community and understands how collaboration can fix Dayton’s pressing problems. He said education is the largest problem outside of City Hall.

“I work hard at what I do,” he said. He later said, “I can bring hope, I can bring light and I’ve done that throughout my career in Dayton.”

Ward and Fairchild talked about their views and plans if elected during a wide-ranging debate at Stivers School for the Arts.

The event, which drew more than 150 visitors, was sponsored by the Dayton Daily News, WHIO-TV and Radio and the League of Women Voters of the Greater Dayton Area.

Ward said he will fight for the city and people of Dayton that he loves. He didn’t offer many specifics about what he might do on the commission.

But he said he has the determination and work ethic to make a difference.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Darryl Fairchild running for Dayton Commission

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

And he said he would work closely with commissioners to come up with ways to improve neighborhoods and would collaborate with the Dayton Public Schools to improve the quality of local education.

“We have to work together to bring hope — I really believe in this place,” he said.

He said he doesn’t have all the answers but will bring citizens together to figure out solutions to problems like hunger in the community and disinvestment in west Dayton.

ExploreVOTERS GUIDE: Compare the Dayton Commission candidates on the issues

Fairchild said the current commission acts in lockstep and he would be the independent voice the commission needs to bring new ideas and spark healthy debate.

Many city neighborhoods are in rough shape because because the city does not have a clear vision and plan for their revitalization and reinvestment, said Fairchild.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Daryl Ward running for Dayton Commission

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

“People don’t want to invest in Dayton primarily because they don’t know where we’re going,” he said. “We have a great plan for downtown, but that’s only 7 percent of our whole city. What about the other 93 percent?”

Fairchild said he would be an accessible elected leader. He accused the city of putting up roadblocks when constituents come to air grievances.

Fairchild said too many people don’t feel safe in their neighborhoods and don’t believe their neighborhoods are a good place to raise a family.

“That is unacceptable to me,” he said. “When I’m elected, I’ll bring urgency to address these issues, and I’ll be a champion for our residents and neighborhoods.”

Other topics on Tuesday night included Good Samaritan Hospital’s closure and food access.

An audience member asked the candidates if they would be willing to stand up to Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, if needed.

Ward said he is willing to work with, and willing to stand up against, anyone if need be.

Fairchild said he is willing to speak truth to power and stand up for what’s right, even if it’s unpopular.

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