YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Campaign season is in full swing in Youngstown and Tuesday night, candidates running for mayor introduced themselves to voters.
It’s the first time all of the candidates have been in the same room. They spent it laying out their plans for the future of Youngstown.
The chapel at First Presbyterian Church on Wick Avenue was packed — standing room only.
Tuesday’s mayoral forum saw one Democrat and two non-party candidates — Jamael Tito Brown, the Democrat who beat current Mayor John McNally, former Youngstown Building and Grounds Commissioner Sean McKinney, and former Sixth Ward City Councilwoman Janet Tarpley.
Candidate Cecil Monroe, who is running non-party, was invited to the forum but was not there.
“We need to make sure that no matter where they are, the top 100 companies should know where Youngstown is,” Brown said.
He talked about tackling the poverty problem in Youngstown, as well as using local growers to supplement the lack of a grocery store in the city.
Candidates answered questions on a number of issues, including the city’s poverty level, racism, and the school system.
“Being retained and working under mayor after his term ended, being rehired back in and working under our current Mayor John McNally,” said.
McKinney focused mostly on his past experience in public service and bringing integrity back to the mayor’s office. He also discussed education, saying once the education problems in the city are fixed, other quality of life problems will improve.
But Tarpley said they need to focus on many factors at once. She wants to bring more specialized school options to the city.
“Everybody cannot go to college but everybody can have a skill and everybody with a skill can have a job. I do believe that we have to push our trade skills,” Tarpley said.
She talked about her years of experience in public service, including her time as a councilwoman.
When asked about working to improve the school system in Youngstown, all of the candidates mentioned increasing after-school programs.
There will be another forum for the candidates on September 19, where they will discuss issues with business leaders in the community. That forum begins at 7:30 a.m. in Stambaugh Auditorium.
This story is corrected to show that the candidates did discuss working with Youngstown Schools CEO Krish Mohip.