Dayton’s new mayor pledges to help young people

Mims sworn in as mayor; newcomer Turner-Sloss, Fairchild begin city commission terms

Jeffrey Mims Jr. was sworn in as Dayton’s 57th mayor on Monday morning, and during his first speech he vowed to make helping young people in the city a key focus of his office.

Mims, 74, said he believes the city can provide high-quality-of-life opportunities to all of its residents and that city investments in children will pay off in a big way and spark other investments.

“I will work in partnership with our schools, with our community leaders and business and legislative stakeholders to create a diverse set of educational opportunities for our youth,” said Mims, who has been a teacher, coach and at different times, president of both the school board and the teachers union.

Mims just finished a second term as a city commissioner.

Also on Monday, Darryl Fairchild was sworn in to a second term on the city commission, and Shenise Turner-Sloss was sworn in to her first term. All mayor and commission terms are for four years.

Dayton is making progress to become a more thriving community because of its bold leadership and strategic investments, especially in young people, Mims said on Monday during the special city commission meeting at the Dayton Metro Library.

But the city faces serious challenges, including the potential loss of as much as $20 million in annual income tax revenue due to a shift to remote working, Mims said.

The city can accomplish great things by working together as a team and by continuing to prioritize children — the community’s “most precious natural resource,” he said.

Credit: Jim Noelker

Credit: Jim Noelker

Turner-Sloss on Monday said she is only the seventh woman to be elected to the city commission. She thanked voters for choosing her to be their voice at City Hall and promised to host town hall meetings and walking tours to hear from residents.

Dayton needs to address the root causes of poverty, she said, adding that these issues include unemployment, underemployment, homelessness, a lack of affordable housing and barriers to opportunity.

“I was elected because people want to see improvements in their neighborhoods,” she said.

Turner-Sloss also encouraged residents to ask questions of their leaders, share their concerns and hold the city commission accountable.

She pledged to help provide Black and brown businesses with technical assistance so they can grow and compete for city contracts.

She also said she wants to implement policies to support a “participatory budget” that pushes funding to the neighborhoods.

Commissioner Fairchild on Monday was emotional as he thanked his friends and supporters who have provided encouragement, advice and other help.

“Without all of you, I wouldn’t have this opportunity,” he said.

He also said he’s grateful to the people of Dayton for entrusting him with the responsibilities of the city commission office.

“I look forward to doing the work that’s before us,” he said. “I believe we have great opportunities and we know we have great challenges.”

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