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Government & Politics

Akron’s May Primary: Here’s Who’s Running

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Andrew Meyer
/
WKSU
Akron will hold its primary in May for the first time in decades.

The city of Akron will hold its primary election in May, for the first time in decades.

Last November, Akron voters approved a move from a September primary to May. Holding the primary in May enables the Summit County Board of Elections enough time between elections to comply with federal and state law, which mandates the BOE provide military and overseas voters with ballots 45 days before an election - for both primary and general elections.

In Akron,  10 city council ward representatives, three at-large council members and the mayor are hoping to keep their seats when voters head to the polls. The primary is May 7 from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Look up your polling location here.

Here’s who’s running in Akron.  We asked each candidate to submit some basic biographical information.  If there is no information listed below for a specific candidate, that means they have not yet responded to our request.

Mayor
-- Daniel Horrigan, 57 (incumbent) (D)

Occupation: Mayor, City of Akron

Neighborhood: North Hill

Previous experience as an elected officeholder: Akron City Council Ward 1- 7 years, Summit County Clerk of Courts - 9 years, Mayor of Akron - 3.5 year

Why are you running?

I want to continue being Mayor of Akron to further drive the progress we've made so far. Akron's population has been stagnant for decades, and my goal is to grow it once again. With more city revenue, more talent and more market demand, increasing our population will attract more businesses, more retail and further investments into our community. I want to continue improving the recruitment and hiring of our safety forces, to assure our workforce looks like the people we serve. I want to continue to boost up our small businesses with programs like Great Streets Akron and through work at Bounce Innovation Hub. I want to continuing investing more in our streets and infrastructure, the visible results already apparent here. And I want to complete the strategic work we've started to reimagine the City's Recreation Department, making our services responsive to the needs of the public. I hope the people of Akron can see the progress we've made so far, and if we can continue this trajectory, Akron can definitely become a more vibrant community for everyone.

-- Greg Harrison (D) – Akron

-- Josh Sines (R) – Akron

Akron City Council At-large

-- Ginger Baylor, 63 (D) Akron,

Occupation: Akron School Board Member; Summit County Common Pleas Court, Judge-Elect Susan Baker Ross (Begin May, 2019)

Neighborhood: North Hill

Previous experience as an elected office holder: City of Akron School Board Member, 2010 – 13 & 2018 – Present; Summit County Representative for U.S. Congresswoman Fudge, 2012 – 17; Former State of Ohio School Board Trustee (OSBA)

Why are you running?

Throughout my life I have valued education, the opportunities it affords our families, and have been driven to serve my community through a variety of roles including elementary and collegiate learning, faith-based outreach, local, state, and federal governmental services, sorority life, and as a School Board Member. I am running for the Akron City Council At-Large seat to encourage job growth and development, support our diverse neighborhoods, concentrate on matters of safety and infrastructure, and serve as a role model for Akron’s youth and women.

-- Cynthia Blake (R) Akron

-- Jeff Fusco, 60 (incumbent) (D) Akron

Occupation: Sitting City of Akron Council-At Large Member

Neighborhood: Ellet

Previous experience as an elected office holder: Akron City Council as an incumbent At-large; Akron Deputy Service Director; Ward 10 and At-large representative; Akron interim Mayor

Why are you running?

I am proud to be a lifelong servant of the community with a long-standing record of accomplishment. I bring a steady hand and deep understanding of Akron’s history along with experiences from the private and public arenas, and continuously look to the future for new and inventive ideas that can build upon Akron’s strength and progress. I have been honored to serve this great city and want to continue to work for you as a full-time councilmember. I pledge to continuously utilize my leadership skills to work with residents to implement legislation in support of smart programs that move Akron forward.

-- Marilyn L. Keith, 65 (incumbent) (D) Akron

Occupation: Sitting City of Akron Ward 8 Councilmember

Neighborhood: Northwest Akron

Previous experience as an elected office holder: Akron Ward 8 Councilmember, 2012 – Present; First female city council president in Akron

Why are you running?

Throughout my life I have been in the field of public service and firmly believe that I am here to serve rather than be served. Prior to running for public office in 2011, I had seen four councilpersons represent my district in four years-time. I felt that the area needed consistent leadership and, as a recently retired educator, I decided to transition my direct focus from the classroom towards the broader community. Since I have been afforded the opportunity to serve the Ward 8 community for seven years, I now feel that I have grown and ascertained legislative skills that translate well to an At-large role for the residents of Akron.

-- Monica McNatt (R) Akron
-- Osita Obierika (R) Akron
-- Linda Omobien (incumbent) (D) Akron

-- LaMont Porter, 38 (R) Akron

Occupation: Cement Mason / Consultant

Neighborhood: Ward 3

Previous experience as an elected office holder: none

Why are you running?

To make better opportunities for the residents and businesses in Akron. Instrumental way to fix the infrastructure. And help stop the homelessness crisis in our city of Akron.

-- Veronica Sims (incumbent) (D) Akron

-- Henry Todd, 50 (R) Akron

Occupation: Teacher

Neighborhood: Ward 3

Previous experience as an elected office holder: none

Why are you running? To address discrimination in the Akron Public School system and weed out the underachieving teachers that show up to work just to collect a paycheck.

Akron City Council Wards

Click on the map above to get more details on Akron's City Council ward races

Akron - Ward 1
-- Brenda Rongone Costarella (R) Akron
-- Rich Swirsky (incumbent) (D) Akron

Akron - Ward 2
-- Bruce Kilby (incumbent) (D) Akron
-- Todd Kleintop (R) Akron

-- Phil Lombardo (D) Akron

Occupation: Accountant

Neighborhood: North Hill

Previous experience as an elected officeholder: This is my first run for political office

Why are you running?

They say while you cannot control the winds, you can adjust the sails. Ward 2 needs their ship sailing in a totally different direction. The landscape has changed in Ward 2. The people have changed, the language has changed and the culture has changed. I am just the guy to captain the ship into a land of better communication, prosperity, opportunity. I believe in Akron, and I believe we need to work with the community to make everyone feel welcome to live here, work here, send their kids to school here, and raise their family here. The residents of Ward 2 will soon know that when I am up to bat for them, I will not be looking for a single - I will be swinging for the fences!

Akron – Ward 3
-- Michael Downey (R) Akron
-- Margo Sommerville (incumbent) (D) Akron

Akron – Ward 4
-- Janice O. Davis, 65 (D) Akron

Occupation: Retired

Neighborhood: Ward 4

Previous experience as an elected officeholder: None

Why are you running?

Assist ward residents and leadership in building a better Akron.

-- Russel C. Neal Jr. (incumbent) (D) Akron

Akron – Ward 5
-- Johnnie Hannah (D) Akron
-- Tara L. Mosley Samples, 48 (incumbent) (D) Akron

Occupation: Councilwoman

Neighborhood: North side district

Previous experience as an elected officeholder: I am currently on City Council

Why are you running?

Because I love to serve the residents of ward 5

Akron – Ward 6

-- Bob Hoch, 69 (incumbent) (D) Akron

Occupation: Akron City Council Ward 6 Representative

Neighborhood: Ellet

Previous experience as an elected officeholder: This is my 8th year on Akron City Council

Why are you running?

I like the what I am doing for the residents of Ward 6 and the City of Akron. I want to continue to be a part of the new changes coming to our city and help with our city to grow and be successful. I worked for Acme Stores for over 37 years taking care of customers. The residents of Ward 6 are my customers.

-- Michael Modonio, 63 (D) Akron

Occupation: Retired Civil Engineer

Neighborhood: Ellet in Ward 6

Previous experience as an elected officeholder: First time candidate. 30+ years experience for the City of Akron's Bureau of Engineering. My last position was Design Division Manager.

Why are you running?

I would like to see Ward 6 receive its fair share of available funding. In addition, I would like to bring some civility back to Council. I've built bridges with knowledge, I've built bridges in the community, now it's time to build bridges on Council.

-- Brad McKitrick, 61 (D) Akron

Occupation: Retired Akron Fire Fighter

Neighborhood: Ellet

Previous experience as an elected officeholder: I was elected in precinct 6M as our precinct committee person 3 years ago. And I was chosen to be the Stering Committee Chair for Ward 6.

Why are you running?

I want to improve issues in our Ward that we all encounter on a daily basis. From having fire damaged houses torn down that have been left standing well over a year to having bushes cut back which hinder visibility at an intersection. Our road conditions need addressed along with how we remove snow. I will work for all of Ward 6 not just more popular areas.  I worked 33 years for Akron Fire. I know Ward 6 and the rest of the city in a way most people have never seen. 21 of my years with AFD I was assigned to the Fire Investigation Unit. I worked regularly with Police, Law, Building and Human Resource Departments. I also worked with our courts and school district. Many times I testified before our Civil Service Commission. All of these interactions give me experience within the workings of our city administration. I will be a councilman who is available, approachable and will follow through. People need someone they can depend on.

-- Jaclyn Marie Williams (R) Akron

Akron – Ward 7
-- Tammy Cummings (D) Akron
-- Donnie Kammer (incumbent) (D) Akron

Akron – Ward 8
-- Gregory P. Dunham, 67 (R) Akron

Occupation: retired from an accounting career

Neighborhood: Fairlawn Heights

Previous experience as an elected officeholder: none

Why are you running?

Give voters a choice of a candidate with accounting and financial background

-- Brian N. Fortney, 40 (R) Akron

Occupation: Global Product Manager, Rockwell Automation

Neighborhood: Fairlawn Heights

Previous experience as an elected officeholder: I’ve not served in a Municipal elected official role previously.

Why are you running?

To work hard together with the people of Akron I admire. We are going to: 1. Fix our roads 2. Improve our schools 3. Strengthen our Police and safety forces. These actions will increase home values and attract new families and business to the Akron community. With over 20 years of experience in business, economic development, workforce development, and communications I’ll bring the ability to ask different questions and drive growth for our city. Akron’s best days lay ahead. Working hard together we can reach Akron’s golden years faster.

-- Shammas Malik, 28 (D) Akron

Occupation: Attorney

Neighborhood: Merriman Valley

Previous experience as an elected officeholder: None

Why are you running?

I'm running for Akron City Council in Ward 8 to make an impact in the neighborhood that made an impact on me. I grew up here, and Firestone High School and the IB program allowed me to get a scholarship to Ohio State and go on to law school. After graduation, I moved home and spent the last two years as an attorney for the City of Akron. I had a chance to work with every city department and work on legislation with city councilmembers. If elected, I hope to bring that experience to City Council, as well as a younger perspective that I think would be valuable.

-- Curtis T. Walker Sr., 61 (D) Akron

Occupation: Pastor, Beth -El African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church

Neighborhood: West Akron

Previous experience as an elected officeholder: I have been on the Akron School Board for almost twenty years. I have been President four times . I am currently Board President.

Why are you running?

I am running to advocate for Ward 8. For improved communications, city services, economic development, better streets,  reduce crime and sewer rates. I am also running to improve the relationships on Council and to agree where we can but not be disagreeable.

Akron – Ward 9
-- Mike Freeman (incumbent) (D) Akron

Akron – Ward 10
-- Amy Allen (R) Akron
-- Sharon L. Connor, 61 (D) Akron

Occupation: Clerical Assistant at Akron Public Schools

Neighborhood: Goodyear Heights

Previous experience as an elected officeholder: none

Why are you running?

The year was 1997 and the neighborhood where I was raising my children was beginning to change. I didn’t want my community to miss out on city-wide opportunities and I began to think how I could be involved when there was little downtown representation. It was then that I became a community advocate and found my passion for civic leadership. I went on to join the neighborhood non-profit organization R.I.G.H.T. and I dedicated my time and energy to being the voice for all families between Six Corners and Market St. Since then I have been a champion for Ward 10. From organizing activities and community events, to monument restoration and public art works. I am proud of the work I have done over the past 20 years. I have lived with a childhood disability my entire life. I have had to overcome many personal obstacles which have never prevented me from working hard to do good works. Now it’s time to take that determination and perseverance to the halls of downtown. I believe in Goodyear Heights and I ask you to believe in me.

-- Jack Hefner, 65 (D) Akron

Occupation: Maxion Wheels- USW Local 2 President

Neighborhood: Goodyear Heights

Previous experience as an elected officeholder: I had the Ward 10 Councilmans job for 6 months When Gary Moneypenny left.

Why are you running?

Ward 10 residents have not been represented for the last 3 yrs. I did better and will do better.

-- Zack Milkovich (incumbent) (D) Akron

Editor's note: This information will be added to as we acquire it in the weeks leading up to the primary election.