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Pat Haley & Jason Stoops Mayoral Debate 2023



The following debate is intended to help our community get to know the candidates running for mayor, in their own words. Each candidate has been given a character limit to respond to the following five questions:


  1. Why are you running for mayor? What are the immediate issues you hope to address and how?

  2. Downtown: What do you feel would most help revitalize Wilmington’s downtown and how would you plan to assist this?

  3. Housing: What opportunities do you see to increase housing development in Wilmington and how would you plan to assist this?

  4. Vagrancy: How would you define the term “vagrancy” and how would you plan to address it in Wilmington?

  5. Concerns: What concerns have you heard people have about your campaign for mayor and how would you like to respond?


Real Change Wilmington believes “we are a community of empowered individuals”. So, while debates are helpful and fun, please also do your own part by reaching out and getting to know each candidate for yourself.


Email Pat Haley at (peh@cinci.rr.com) and Jason Stoops at (jasonstoops@ymail.com).


​Pat Haley

Jason Stoops





Interview with Pat Haley:



​Interview with Jason Stoops:



Age: 75

​Age: 48

Occupation: Former County Sheriff & Commissioner

​Occupation: Mechanic & Owner of Midnight Auto

Education: FBI Academy

Education: Certified Automotive Technician

Politics: Republican

Politics: Independent

Religion: Catholic

Religion: Non-Religious

Family: Divorced/Remarried

Family: Divorced/Engaged

Background in Wilmington: “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 percussionist 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.”

- Pat Haley

Background in Wilmington: “My family moved to a farm outside of Wilmington in 1976 when I was one. I graduated from Wilmington High School in 1993, and to lend a hand at my dad’s garage, I graduated half a year early. We ran a tow service, handling wrecks and helping folks in need until he passed. Most of my adult life has been under the hood of a car—I feel the most comfortable repairing engines and getting people back on the road. I made my way back to Wilmington in 2010 and in 2017, I started my own business. In 2018, I invested in a building downtown and saw the serious homelessness and drug problems in our city. I dove into politics to address these issues. I have always called Clinton County home and I want to see it be the best home possible.”

- Jason Stoops

Why are you running for mayor? What are the immediate issues you hope to address and how?


“I grew up in Wilmington. I have dedicated a good part of my life to Wilmington. In 1970 I began as a police officer with the city of Wilmington. In 1976 I joined the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office as a Deputy Sheriff. In 1980 I was elected Sheriff, serving two terms. Thirty years later, in 2010, I was elected Clinton County Commissioner. Again, serving two terms. My goal is to: 1) Reduce crime; 2) Solve the vagrant issue. We will make the town safe and clean; 3) No more vagrant encampments, 4) Fix Rombach Avenue. Remove barriers and no turn on red signs; 5) Return parallel parking around the Courthouse; 6) Enhance the Transit System and review app generated passenger scheduling; 7) Review all taxes and regulations to attract more business to our community; 8) We will fix our streets, and; 9) Paint traffic patterns. The Primary Election was about change. And that is what I will deliver. That’s why I’m running for mayor."

- Pat Haley

​Why are you running for mayor? What are the immediate issues you hope to address and how?


“Within 90 days of my election I will increase community engagement by holding group hearings where residents can voice their concerns to address them and move forward. I will review our current public safety policies and work with our law enforcement to increase strategies to reduce crime in our downtown. I have already started to partner with local organizations to assess our homeless population’s needs and demographics. We need to understand the root of the problem and then provide mental health support and addiction treatment tailored to our homeless. It is the lack of helpful legislation that could help leverage these citizens to get a better life—it’s time for all of Clinton county to be a HOME for all of our residents. I plan on partnering with the Commissioners office to find and address the issues our homeless community faces and create a strategy for the rest of my term as mayor that we can act upon.”

- Jason Stoops

DOWNTOWN: What do you feel would most help revitalize Wilmington’s downtown and how would you plan to assist this?


"A well-preserved downtown is charming and appealing to visitors and residents alike. Wilmington has historic architecture that is of interest to many, with the combination of nostalgia, history, and tree lined streets.

As Mayor, I would explore private/public partnerships to repurpose some of the older buildings we have downtown that could serve as sparkling new businesses while keeping our downtown character alive and thriving.

I would investigate the possibility of offering free design assistance to any downtown business owner who would restore the façade of their building. I would like to see downtown Wilmington decorated for the holidays. Seasonal decorations will dress up the downtown. There is a stream running from South South Street near the Escape Lounge that could be cleaned and a small park built to allow some quiet time for families to enjoy relaxing while watching the water floating along. Quiet green space."

- Pat Haley

DOWNTOWN: What do you feel would most help revitalize Wilmington’s downtown and how would you plan to assist this?


“Revitalization of our downtown has already begun and I am excited to be a part of it! I plan on increasing the safety and security of our downtown as both a resident and a property owner. The Sugartree corridor project will be one that I focus on during my term as mayor. We will fill empty storefronts and partner with local businesses to create a 5 year plan for revitalization while drawing in tourism from existing county locations. Wilmington is the heart of Ohio, just being an hour away from Dayton, Cincinnati, and Columbus. With a great location like that, we can create more tourism opportunities by partnering with surrounding locations and promoting our downtown. I also will foster relationships with our local college community and turn a ‘town with a college’ into a welcoming community that students plan to stay and live in after graduation.”

- Jason Stoops

HOUSING: What opportunities do you see to increase housing development in Wilmington and how would you plan to assist this?


"I will support quality housing development that maintains our sense of identity, our historic character, and our quality of life. I advocate growth without losing the heart and soul of our city. Recently, there were two housing proposals. At the former Drive-In location, citizens were concerned about the small lot sizes and low square footage of the homes. The project was approved. On the other end of the field on Prairie Road, the Wilmington City Planning Commission approved the Marine Estates Subdivision construction plans. After months of planning, building, and money, City Administration abruptly informed Mr. Marine he was required to build a 1.7 million-dollar roundabout on Prairie Road. That statement, quite simply, killed the deal. I don’t believe that is the way Wilmington should be doing business. We need quality homes constructed here, homes that entice individuals and families to live in Wilmington."

- Pat Haley

HOUSING: What opportunities do you see to increase housing development in Wilmington and how would you plan to assist this?


“Increasing housing development begins with investing in our schools, fire department improvements, maintaining our quality police force, and encouraging growth in existing employers. Investing in our infrastructure feeds into creating a thriving, safe, and secure community. I will work to streamline regulations for developers, reducing unnecessary hurdles that slow down projects. I will explore zoning restrictions in our community to allow for higher-density development in appropriate areas without compromising the character of our city. It is time to rethink the way we build and research into Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU’s) would increase housing options without significantly altering the neighborhoods we already call home.”

- Jason Stoops

​VAGRANCY: How would you define the term “vagrancy” and how would you plan to address it in Wilmington?


"It’s important to recognize there are two vastly distinct categories of homeless people involved. There are the legitimately needy who seek help because of devastating medical expenses, domestic violence, divorce, or the loss of a job of a loved one. We need to help them. Vagrants are the lifestyle and addiction-driven, committing crimes and lowering the quality of life. Those on the streets without an established residence or regular work, who wander from place to place, supporting themselves by aggressive panhandling without lawful or visible means of support. If elected Mayor, I will work to beef up and partner with the Police Department to have zero tolerance for crime. There are many reports of illegal encampments, thefts, drug use, prostitution, sexual crimes and a variety of quality-of-life issues, which we will address. Once the offender is in the court system, the court has options available to mandate treatment, strict probation, and incarceration."

- Pat Haley

​VAGRANCY: How would you define the term “vagrancy” and how would you plan to address it in Wilmington?


“To me, vagrancy is a small part of our homeless population who, either because of drug addiction or other reasons, use petty crime as a way of life. The homeless coalition has been involved in creating ways to address the vagrancy problem and I plan to continue my work with them while elected. There is no easy fix. This will have to be a continued effort of the entire community. We need to support our law enforcement so that they have the resources to handle repeated offenders whether that is finding them treatment facilities or allowing the court system to do its due diligence. While vagrancy is very visible, it is not the largest problem our community faces. The lack of mental health and transitional housing are the root cause of our homeless issues, which will be issues I tackle in my term as mayor.”

- Jason Stoops

CONCERNS: What concerns have you heard people have about your campaign for mayor and how would you like to respond?


"I am grateful for the outpouring of support for my mayoral campaign from people throughout the City of Wilmington over the last 12 months. I appreciate those who encouraged me to run, and who are supporting me financially and emotionally. Their support is more than just their dollars.

I was pleased and honored by the margin of victory in the May primary. I have spoken to hundreds of people since the end of last year. I knocked on the doors of all major subdivisions within Wilmington and had the opportunity to engage in conversation with many citizens who shared their concerns. I spoke at many meetings and received valuable feedback from the attendees.

At this point and time, Wilmington needs strong leadership! You have a clear choice this November. Experience is important to tackle the tough decisions that must be made within the coming months. I would appreciate and welcome your vote on November 7, 2023."

- Pat Haley

CONCERNS: Some people are concerned about your criminal background or lack of political experience, how would you respond?


“Listen, I know I am a little rough around the edges. I will be the first to tell you that I am not your typical candidate for mayor. While some see this as a concern, I don’t. I am invested in learning more about the problems we face to better understand and actively make them better. There are no easy answers for the problems our city faces but I plan on finding experts in the areas we need to focus on and partnering with them to ensure we get results. I am running as an Independent candidate, which allows me to connect with all parties to find a compromise to city issues. I run representing the citizens of Wilmington, rather than just a party. Neither candidate in our race has experience being mayor. I have been ingrained in making this city better by making my voice heard at city hall. I have been here, rooted in making our community better and I plan to do that win, or win, this election.”

- Jason Stoops


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