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Nan Whaley answers questions from local press at Court Street Diner in Athens, Ohio on Monday, September 11. (Nickolas Oatley/WOUB)

Dayton Mayor Makes Case For Gov’s Office In Athens

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ATHENS — Nan Whaley sat in the Court Street Diner on Monday, talking about her memories of Southeast Ohio and making her case for becoming the leader of the state.

The Dayton mayor was in town as she traveled around the state, on her way to Martins Ferry for the first Democratic debate for the candidates, which happens tonight.

Her conversation with media outlets ranged from the opioid epidemic to healthcare, to her goal of lifelong education in the state.

Since she began as mayor in Dayton in 2013, Whaley’s passion has been her Lifelong Learning Initiative, which promotes access to high-quality pre-kindergarten education. She hopes to make it a statewide initiative should she become governor.

“When we look at what’s going on with our workforce, and what’s going to happen over the next 20 years, we need to make sure that we have talent that’s able to compete,” Whaley said.

What she doesn’t want to see is the charter schools and what she called the “straight up crony capitalism” that went into the charter schools in the state.

“There needs to be true accountability, these are taxpayer dollars, if we don’t have quality, then they shouldn’t be getting the dollars,” she said.

The people that should be getting the dollars are local communities, Whaley said. When asked about the Medicaid Managed Care Organization tax, which represents a significant part of operating budgets and transportation services dollars in counties, Whaley said the state was giving communities a raw deal.

“Local communities are where the rubber meets the road on local services so if you don’t have your county engineer being able to fix the bridge, the bridge goes out, people can’t get home, right? And that’s a really big deal for folks, and that kind of tone deafness in Columbus is what we want to change and why we’re running for governor.”

Whaley also commented on recent criticism of Governor John Kasich for appearing in the national media rather than working on issues in Ohio.

“We think that there’s a great opportunity if we have a governor that’s really engaged with local communities and really listening to see what local communities need,” she said. “That can be really valuable to have that in the governor’s office.”

Whaley will face off in the democratic race against former U.S. Representative Betty Sutton, former state representative Connie Pillich and former Senate Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni.

Republicans in the race for governor include Attorney General Mike DeWine, Secretary of State Jon Husted, Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor and U.S. Representative Jim Renacci.