Election 2021: The Race For Dayton Mayor

DAYTON — Next Tuesday’s race for Dayton Mayor features a well-known current City Commissioner and a former Dayton firefighter who is making his first run for elected office. Commissioner Jeff Mims is a former member of the Dayton School Board, former school administrator, former Dayton Education Association leader, teacher, and coach. He faces Rennes Bowers, a retired firefighter in Dayton.

In an interview with both candidates for Sunday’s “WHIO Reports” program, Bowers said his top priority is focusing more of the city’s safety and development efforts in troubled neighborhoods. “These abandoned houses have got to be our top priority. They blight entire neighborhoods. They bring trafficking, drug addicts. They bring ultimately the coroner who brings dead bodies out of these homes,” Bowers said. Mimis said as a current City Commissioner and before that, as a member of the Dayton School Board, he has been focused on neighborhoods for a long time. “From a $528 million project to build new schools in Dayton, additional libraries, the Gem City Market, you name it, We have had a continuous set of growth factors,” Mims said.

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After the death of George Floyd and other incident in Dayton, the city set out to enact police reform. Mims said those reforms are now taking shape. “Making sure that we put things in place that help develop more trust between the police person and the citizens. That is one of our primary responsibilities. Safety, education, recreation, those are the keys to a foundational city,” Mims said.

For Bowers, the path to police reform leads through neighborhood policing. “The police have to have a relationship with trust with the people that they protect. And if you have neighborhood policing, the people get to know the police and the police get to know the neighborhood. And then police pulling people out of their car by their hair are much less likely to happen,” Bowers said.

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One of the controversies of the race is a mailer that went out to voters in Dayton, with a photo from the January 6 riot at the US Capitol Building in Washington. The campaign piece features a quote from Rennes Bowers that reads: “I was in DC on January 6.” Bowers told WHIO-TV that he did attend the rally in Washington on January 6th but did not go to the Capitol Building. While the mailer says it was sent from the Ohio Democratic Party, Bowers claimed it was actually paid for by Mims. In response, Mims denied that and said he saw it for the first time like everyone else in Dayton, when it arrived in the mail.

A statement from the Ohio Democratic Party reads: “The Ohio Democratic Party paid for this mailer as a way to make sure the voters of Dayton know that self-described conservative candidate Rennes Bowers was in Washington, D.C. on the day of the January 6th attack on our nation’s capital.”

You can watch the complete interviews with both candidates on “WHIO Reports” this Sunday morning at 11:30 a.m.