WAVERLY- Following a day of visiting neighboring counties, Dayton Mayor and 2022 Democratic Gov. candidate Nan Whaley stopped in Waverly to speak with prospective voters.

Spending the last eight years as Dayton’s Mayor and the prior 16 in its city hall, Whaley believes she’s ready to lead in Columbus and vowed for change from Republican Gov. Mike DeWine.

Within a short span of time in 2019, Whaley’s city dealt with a white supremacy hate group rally and was hit by a tornado and a mass shooting leaving nine people dead.

These obstacles, along with the ongoing opioid epidemic, and how she responded to them have her confident in her campaign which started in April.

“While we’ve been trying to turn Dayton around, we’ve noticed the state has gotten further and further behind,” she said, visiting Lake White after stops in Ironton and Portsmouth. “I think the politicians in Columbus have lost touch with everyday folks.”

This message is at the heart of her “Ohio Deserves Better” campaign, she said, where current leadership has paid more attention to special interests than communities like Dayton and Waverly.

Among her central goals if elected, Whaley wants to see wages increase, bills go down, and to make government work for all Ohioans.

“One good job should be enough,” she said. “Too many times in my community, I see people working two bad jobs, still having to go to the food bank.”

To turn that around, she plans on incentivizing businesses that only pay and treat their workers fairly. Joining the push of labor advocates nationwide, Whaley also wants Ohio’s minimum wage to be $15 which currently sits at $8.80.

As for Gov. DeWine, Whaley feels corruption and a mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic have dominated his tenure.

The fallout of the House Bill 6 bribery scandal, resulting in the arrests of five Ohio political figures, ties in with DeWine, she said. Akron-based FirstEnergy Corp. paid $61 million in bribes to ensure a $1.3 billion bailout and later received campaign financing from the company.

In July, DeWine said he would donate the FirstEnergy campaign funds to the Boys and Girls Clubs.

Whaley, if elected, will create a Public Accountability Commission to prevent any further kinds of corruption from happening in the Buckeye state.

She was pleased with how DeWine initially responded to the COVID-19 pandemic, but feels politics have clouded his actions.

The next governor will take office in 2023 and if the pandemic is still happening, she will require masks in the schools. DeWine promotes schools to take this action, but has said he cannot mandate them due to recently passed state laws.

DeWine represents the status quo in Ohio politics, Whaley said, where state Republicans hold a supermajority in the Senate and House of Representatives.

That status quo needs to change in her opinion.

“I believe in Ohio and I believe we can have a future that’s resilient and innovative when we all come together,” Whaley said, a proponent of creating more renewable energy in Ohio. “We deserve and demand a statehouse that actually works for us and not working for themselves.”

Contact Patrick Keck at pkeck@newswatchman.com or by phone at 740-947-2149, ext. 300431 and follow him on Twitter @pkeckreporter.

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