BOTKINS – Concerns regarding the state’s political leadership were voiced during the annual Jefferson-Jackson dinner hosted by the Shelby County Democratic Party on Thursday. With sights set on the governorship, supporters hope the featured speaker will throw her hat into the ring.
Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley told the 80 Democrats gathered at The Palazzo that Republican Gov. John Kasich continues to fail in fulfilling campaign promises. Saying Ohio is at a crossroads, Whaley said “Ohio is in crisis.”
Also, Ray Zarazua of Sidney was chosen as the 2016 Democrat of the Year.
Tom Kerrigan, local party chairman, outwardly touted Whalen joining the race for state leadership. Former chairman June Laughlin also endorsed Whaley to join the fray adding she would be victorious over Republican Mike DeWine.
While speech comments challenged the governor, Whaley stopped short of announcing her candidacy. The deadline for declaring her intentions will be next week.
Currently, as mayor, Whaley will be unopposed on the November ballot.
The 41-year old Whaley is originally from Mooresville, Indiana. She moved to Ohio when she attended college at the University of Dayton, where she earned a degree in chemistry. She later received a master’s degree in Public Administration from Wright State University, where she has also served as an Adjunct Professor.
According to information, in part, on her website found at nanwhaley.com, she was first elected to the Dayton City Commission in 2005; served on the Montgomery County Board of Elections and as a deputy to Montgomery County Auditor Karl Keith. She also serves on Greater Ohio’s Community Revitalization Committee, the Learn to Earn Executive Committee for Education, the Montgomery County Planning Commission, and the Dayton Access Television Board of Trustees.
Whaley said Ohio ranks lowest nationally in job and personal income growth, and the shifting of tax dollars in Columbus leaves Ohio taxpayers holding the bag.
She pointed out the city of Dayton has lost $6.5 million per year through a cutback on the Local Government Fund. She said citizens of Shelby County are also sadly affected by what she termed a “statehouse grab” of funds.
Ohio has been “sold a bill of goods”
“The people in Ohio have been sold a bill of goods on many things,” she said.
Whaley added, “Our state government leaders must restore their relationship between Columbus, the cities, and the smaller communities throughout the state.”
Whaley then took aim at pharmaceutical companies, whom she accused on being at the root of problems created by opioid addiction, and the growing heroin use deaths.
“Ohio leads the nation in overdoses. In Dayton, we average two overdose deaths a day,” she said.
The mayor said there were 19,000 drug overdoses in Ohio in 2016 that required the immediate drug Narcan to be used. She noted that just in the city of Dayton, there have been 3,000 doses utilized the first three months of this year.
“Through the use of painkillers, the pharmaceutical companies have created a generation of drug addicts. They should be responsible for paying for this problem. No tax dollars should be used to clean up this message created by pharmaceutical companies.”
Noting the next proposed governor’s budget, that a lack of needed funds is a mistake. She claimed current administration is a “failure of leadership” and urged listeners it was time to uplift Ohio.
“Our time hasn’t passed. Our time is now,” she concluded.
Ray Zarazua chosen 2016 Democrat of the Year
Ray Zarazua of Sidney was chosen as Democrat of the Year. The retired Meijer’s warehouse manager has been a resident of Sidney for 21 years.
Zarazua is originally from Michigan and a graduate of Michigan State University. He has volunteered with Agape Distribution, the Shelby County Animal Shelter, Gateway Arts Council, and the Democratic Central Committee.
He told the crowd that he retired last September and had to keep busy leading to his involvement with the organizations. He said his parents and grandparents paved the way for him being able to succeed. Being of Hispanic descent, Zarazua said he is an American, but his parents were migrants.
He commented on his unhappiness with the way President Trump is dealing with immigration issues prompting his involvement with politics.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.