COLUMBUS—Unopposed this year as she seeks re-election as Dayton’s mayor, Nan Whaley announced today that she will join the growing pool of Democrats seeking the party’s nomination to take back the Ohio governor’s office next year.
“It’s clear that Ohioans are angry, convinced the system has failed them and rightly so,” she said. “The people of Ohio have been deceived and misled for years. Republicans have run things in Columbus for 25 years, and they’ve run this state into the ground. The Ohio Miracle is the Ohio Mirage.
“Ohio jobs have disappeared, and the state has walked away from our local communities under Republican Statehouse rule,” Ms. Whaley said. “Even Governor Kasich now admits Ohio has fallen into recession. We made things better in Dayton. We got it done. I’m confident we can get it done in Ohio.”
She joins former Akron-area U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton, Youngstown area state Sen. Joe Schiavoni, and former state Rep. Connie Pillich, of Cincinnati.
Potential wilds cards include Richard Cordray, the state’s current attorney appointed by former President Barack Obama as his top consumer watchdog in Washington, former U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, of Cleveland, and Ohio Supreme Court Justice William O’Neill.
The first woman elected to the city commission in 2005, Ms. Whaley, 41, won her first term as mayor in 2013. She also served on the Montgomery County Board of Elections and as a county deputy auditor.
She’s been considered a rising star among Democrats, which has had more luck in city halls and mayors’ offices in recent years than at the statewide and legislative levels.
Ms. Whaley has been critical of what’s been happening in Columbus under Mr. Kasich. That has been particularly true of cuts in local government aid and interference with cities’ home-rule authority.
Last fall she joined with Toledo Mayor Paul Hicks-Hudson and mayors of more than two dozen cities to create the Ohio Mayors Alliance to present a united front on issues with the General Assembly.
"Politicians have been standing idle on the sidelines for too long, watching the heroin epidemic ravage our communities and destroy lives, families, and loved ones,” Ms. Whaley said. “The big drug companies that claimed opioids weren’t addictive and created this crisis must be held responsible and pay their fair share to clean it up. We need to treat this epidemic like the statewide emergency that it is.”
Dayton declared a state of emergency on the crisis and developed a needle-exchange program. It also ensured that first-responders had accessed to the overdose-reversal drug naloxone, something that the state has also championed.
Born in Indiana, she earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from University of Dayton and later a master’s in public administration from Wright State University where she once was an adjunct professor.
On the Republican side, Secretary of State Jon Husted and U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci, of Wadsworth, have formally announced their candidacies. Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, who has Mr. Kasich’s backing, and Attorney General Mike DeWine are also believed to be in the hunt.
Contact Jim Provance at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 614-221-0496.