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014: Republican Primary Mayoral Candidates Blind Debate 2023 (with John Stanforth & Pat Haley)


This podcast is bravely going where no other Real Change Wilmington Podcast has gone before! We are hosting the first blind debate for the Republican candidates to provide answers to some of the pressing questions about the platforms on which each are running.





Both Stanforth and Haley have different Campaign Key-Points:


John Stanforth

Pat Haley

Safety, Code Enforcement, Low Taxes, City Service

​Crime, Charity, Transparency, Communication


We asked how they view and how they would address the issues for the following topics:

  • Business & Economic Development

  • Transportation

  • Housing

  • Addiction & Mental Health

  • Homelessness & Crime


John Stanforth

Pat Haley

Business & Economic Development

 

Stanforth: “The state of business in the city is really good” Stanforth claims. He goes on to discuss the business developments in progress, stating that businesses like the Ford dealership will be moving to Rombach Ave. and with the assistance of the new Business Development Director at the Airpark more projects will be taking off in the next year. Finally, Stanforth spoke on the project of purchasing the Masonic Temple, using the DRIVE program, and rehabbing it into a class 1 office space.

Business & Economic Development

 

Haley: During his time as commissioner Ha- ley claims he took Wilmington from a 23% unemployment rate to a rate of 4%, as well as eliminating all debts in Clinton County. Haley stated “When I took the office of commis- sioner shortly after DHL left Clinton County. The community was amid in chaos.” Haley plans to work with businesses coming to Wilmington on things like keeping taxes low to increase the workforce and building a good rapport with them to achieve his vision. Downtown development is an issue Haley feels is important to the community that needs a thriving downtown. Haley plans on achieving this by working closely and cooper- atively with downtown organizations to expand.

Transportation

 

Stanforth: “Our transit department is the largest in the city” says Stanforth, while speaking in regard to the state of transportation in the city. He went on to discuss the director of transportation, Jessica Powell, and what she has brought to the department, such as developing a study on efficiency and the possibility of expanding the hours of operation. As of 2022 the city statistics state that the transit gave over 100,000 rides in the year and is currently working on dispatch improvements using a digital system.

Transportation

 

Haley: “Wilmington has an outstanding transit system” says Haley, with staff that embraces their “midwestern values” by going above and beyond for the citizens doing such things as helping riders load and unload their groceries, which Haley says is unorthodox but that the drivers know that it is just the right thing to do. As mayor he plans on working on the funding issue to get the idea off the drawing board and into practice to have the transit expand to meet the needs of the city.

Housing

 

Stanforth: There are currently three developments for housing in Wilmington Stanforth spoke on; Timberglen which has houses being built this summer, Maturka’s which has planning for houses to start building in fall of 2023 or spring 2024, and the former drive-in theater has a developer trying to work with council to start making streets and curbs in this summer with housing going up in summer 2024. “We are looking for developers for multifamily housing, they are really needed” stated Stanforth, he went on to say how the city did try to get the developers working on the drive- in project to put in multifamily housing but were unsuccessful.

Housing

 

Haley: “Wilmington is growing and there is a need for housing”, claims Haley while discussing topics like the development of the former drive-in movie theater area, and the need for quality housing. Haley’s plan, as mayor, is to communicate and work with developers and citizens to get the homes he feels that Wilmington needs. “The role of the city government is to ensure the developers keep their promises to the public, and to carefully review and study the plans to ensure that happens.” says Haley when discussing the need for stronger communication out of city hall, to attract housing developers to Wilmington.

Addiction & Mental Health

 

​Stanforth: “No municipal government has the tools to handle this problem alone” claims Stanforth, he continued to discuss how the entire country has suffered since the late 1970’s with mental health and addiction when reforms caused state funded mental institutions to close. “Willmington would bankrupt itself were it left to solve this problem alone” Stanforth continued when speaking on getting the governor involved. Stanforth goes on to comment on the use of the police force for this issue “We are seeing a more robust law enforcement response to vagrancy, but we cannot arrest or jail our way out of this problem.”

Addiction & Mental Health

 

Haley: Haley feels that addiction and mental health go hand-in-hand, and with Wilmington’s growing homeless population he wants to see those who need it get proper outpatient care. Haley states “There are people who need help and constant medications and they do not get help or take their medication due to current outpatient care”. To Haley, addiction and untreated mental health issues can lead to crime. To those also breaking the law he feels that getting them into the criminal justice system, for court mandated treatment, can allow them to get the help they need.

Homelessness & Crime

 

Stanforth: “Statistically, the crime rate in Wilmington is down.” claims Stanforth, elaborating on the use of FBI crime statistics showing that crime in the city is on the downward trend. Stanforth goes on to explain that with a fully staffed police force, lead by Chief Ron Fithen, they have noticed less crime. This is one of the few times in Stanforth’s mayoral career that he has seen a force fully staffed, saying that they have issues with police departments in larger cities offering the officers more money per year than what Wilmington can offer. “I am sure you have seen me struggle to find a police chief that will do the job correctly.” says Stanforth, he goes on to say that under the guidance of Fithen and top Sargent Rager he feels that the job is being done well now. Stanforth also spoke on the importance of the bicycle patrol and K9 units.

Homelessness & Crime

 

Haley: Haley states that there are two distinct types of people who are homeless; the truly homeless, who have maybe lost their jobs, or going through a divorce and the vagrants who participate in petty crime. “Homelessness has touched everyone in some way” says Haley. As mayor he plans on addressing these “quality of life” issues by not giving people a pass on crimes. Haley feels that all people from all facets of life should be treated equally when it comes to criminal actions and if elected mayor wants everyone to feel Wilmington is both safe and clean.

We also asked the candidates about their family background and history in Wilmington, why they are running for mayor, and response to community concerns.

Pat Haley

Family Background & History in Wilmington

 

Stanforth: “Born and raised in his family farmhouse in Wilmington, John Stanforth is a true native. Over the years has held many different positions within the community; farmer, fast food employee, contractor, small business owner, and mayor. Stanforth considers himself a mayor of the people, which is why when he needed to raise taxes to support the police department he did so reluctantly. The citizens know him for constantly trying to educate himself on new topics, like homelessness and electric car charging stations to make Wilmington a better place. When Stanforth is not attending to his mayoral duties he finds joy in riding his motorcycle, bird watching and spending time with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.”

Family Background & History in Wilmington

 

Haley: “I was born and raised in Clinton County and grew up in Wilmington. I attended Denver Place Elementary School, Wilmington Junior High School, and Wilmington High School. I was a baseball pitcher for the Hurricanes, earning all-league honors, as well as being a percussion- ist in the marching band. I was raised, along with my four siblings, by a stay-at-home mom and a commute-to-Dayton dad who worked 45 years for one company, the National Cash Register. My dad missed just two days in that 45 years of work. Our family were members of St. Columkille Catholic Church where my wife and I are still members today.”

Why are You Running for Mayor?

 

Stanforth: “I think about my grandkids everyday, and about the town our gener- ation is leaving for them. Do my grandchildren and your children have a bright future here? How do we help make our community more competitive, more livable, and more relevant? Why is our biggest ex- port from Wilmington our children and grandchildren? Can we stem this loss of talent? These questions and many more should weigh on anyone seeking a leadership post in Wilmington and Clinton County. Closer to the point of your question, I remain animated by the ques- tion I asked when I ran for mayor the first time: “How do we provide quality public services, while keeping taxes and fees reasonable and affordable?” We are doing just that and making a difference, as illustrated by our list of accomplishments. Promises made, promises kept.’

Why are You Running for Mayor?

 

Haley: “I grew-up in Wilmington. I love Wilmington. I don’t like the direction it’s going. Rather than sit idly by complaining, I decided to become involved to try to do something about it. There are a multitude of issues that need attention. Vagrancy and petty crime issues are touching so many citizens in Wilmington in a negative way. As a for- mer sheriff, if elected I will support our Police Department in taking a law-and-order approach to those breaking the law, to help make our streets safe again.”

Response to Community Concerns

 

Stanforth: “Every mayor in every town in America must cope with criticism. The slings and arrows from critics and friends alike are an important barometer of whether our policies are appropriate, or not. I listen carefully to criticisms and I’ve altered my view on some matters after listening to facts, evidence and arguments. “Those who never change their minds never change anything” W. Churchill .”

Response to Community Concerns

 

Haley: I have a long public service record of responding to citizen concerns quickly and effectively. Constituent service is an important part of effective leadership. I am a strong communicator. Citizens have asked me about transparency issues in City Hall. Many feel their voices are not being heard. If elected, I will change that perception. There have been irregularities in severance packages for former city employees. Personnel payouts to settle lawsuits and accompanying legal fees to out-of-town attorneys has approached $500,000.00 with- in the last few years. There are other irregularities within the current administration that are being investigated by outside agencies.”


If you have additional questions for either candidate you can reach out:


Please remember to stay informed and go vote for the candidate of your choice on May 2, 2023!




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