DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Dayton Unit NAACP held a candidate forum Monday to give residents the opportunity to ask critical questions directly to the candidates.

Candidates in the forum are running for Dayton’s Mayor, City Commission, Harrison Township trustee and Jefferson Township trustee.

Over an hour of questions from residents, the consensus was clear; everyone wants to improve our city.

“I’m listening for ideas about how to solve the criminal element, the drug element, the racial disparity, just the run of mill issues that are plaguing the community as a whole,” said Adrian Cofield, a resident of Dayton.

Dayton residents are urging candidates in the upcoming election to focus on reducing crime and the drug epidemic. They believe little has been done to restore the West Side.

Dr. Derrick Foward, president of Dayton Unit NAACP, was clear in his message tonight, he’s calling on all members of the Dayton community regardless of race to cast their vote in elections. Only then, will change be evident.

“When middle-class Caucasians and college students as well as Hispanics and Latinos join the African American community in the ‘voting process,’ it creates an environment of change,” Foward said. “We will continue to work with our brothers and sisters to ensure that all voices are heard.”

Coetta Bynum, a resident of Dayton, wanted to hear promises of peace and Christ from candidates in the NAACP’s forum. She believes Dayton’s top priority is the community coming together as one.

“All the citizens need to return to a belief in God and what He has to say about life and if we do that, we can all get in one court,” Bynum said.

Keep in mind, elections will take place in November.