City Money Here’s why Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley wants you to elect her governor By Marilyn Icsman Posted on September 12, 2017 8 min read 0 0 311 Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley held a press conference at the Court Street Diner Monday afternoon. Photo by Marilyn Icsman. Nan Whaley is one of eight Democrats running for governor in 2018, when John Kasich will reach his term limit. She visited Athens to let people know the ins and outs of her platform. Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley came to Athens Monday as part of her campaign efforts to visit different parts of Ohio. She was born in Indiana, but has lived in Ohio since graduating from the University of Dayton. She was elected mayor there in 2013, after serving two terms on the City Commission. Here’s why she thinks you should vote for her to be the next governor of Ohio. She understands the importance of local government Whaley noted that many Ohioans — especially in regions like Southeast Ohio and small towns — feel forgotten by officials in Columbus. She said that since she has experience in Dayton, she understands this problem and will make sure it no longer continues if she is elected. “Most of the communities across the state feel forgotten from the Statehouse, and we feel like the state tells us what to do …and then takes the resources away,” Whaley said. “That’s really what drove me into the race.” As the only candidate from either party who is an elected local official, Whaley said she is ready to work with local governments to make sure they get the support they really need. “I think that gives me a really unique perspective about what’s going on, on the ground,” Whaley said. She wants to make college more affordable The pressure to provide a college education for young people in Ohio should be on the state government, Whaley said, so that college is accessible to more than the upper middle class. “We have to take the burden off of families to provide college,” Whaley said. She said that investing in families and students is the key to reducing debt and encouraging young people to stay in the state. “I’m the only one who has said anything about how we really need to invest in college education and who is really talking about this lifelong learning curriculum,” Whaley said. Job creation is the hallmark of her platform Whaley pointed out that the entire state of Ohio, not just specific regions, are having trouble with low employment rates. “We should be ahead of the job numbers in the nation, not behind, considering how tough the recession was for us,” Whaley said. “That’s my concern for the state, and it tells me that the policies the state has put in place aren’t working.” By listening to local communities and working with mayors, other city officials and local businesses, Whaley said she thinks there are big opportunities for job growth. She described the current state process as “top-down,” with Columbus telling city governments what to do and failing to provide alternatives for communities that cannot comply. “I don’t think that works for a state like Ohio that is so diverse, and I really think it needs to go the other way around,” Whaley said. Job creation will look different for each region, Whaley explained. She offered the example of investments in broadband and other technology as a plan that could help SE Ohio by creating jobs quickly and expanding the culture of small businesses having broadband and investing in infrastructure. She knows how to work across party lines As a Democrat in the Republican-leaning region of Southern Ohio, Whaley said she has had to work across the political divide. “For me to be able to get things done in Dayton means I have to work across party lines, and folks recognize that,” Whaley said. “From working with the chamber to pass high-quality pre-K, to working with businesses to develop jobs in Dayton… You have to be that way as mayor, and I think people like that.” The Ohio Senate and House of Representatives are both currently Republican-majority, which means that Whaley would likely have to put this diplomacy to work if elected as governor. Early education is a top priority for her Whaley’s “lifelong learning” initiative includes a commitment to early education so that kids can be on equal footing once they reach elementary school, she said. When she started as mayor, she launched the City of Learners program, which she now wants to launch state-wide. The program’s goals included high-quality schools, access to pre-Kindergarten, an increase in mentors and business partnerships with schools and expanded summer and after-school programs. She said early childhood education is a good place to focus, since it’s more inexpensive than higher education, but said the government needs to be committed to improving education.