DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — In the final stretch of Dayton’s mayoral race, candidates are focused on getting voters to the polls. Democrat Jeffrey Mims Jr., a current city commissioner, is facing Republican Rennes Bowers, a retired city district fire chief.

Both candidates said Dayton is near and dear to them for many reasons. “My parents were poor, and we found ways to improve our quality of life. Those opportunities given to my father and mother put us in a better position to enjoy a higher quality of life here in Dayton,” Mims said.

Bowers said Dayton is special because of the city’s accomplishments. “People came from all over the country to work and live here. It’s a city of great innovation with the Wright brothers and Patterson,” Bowers said.

Top priorities for Bowers include:

  1. Public safety and security
  2. Targeting abandoned homes
  3. Transparency at City Hall

Bowers said, “public safety is crucial to everything, and then of course infrastructure. We have got to fix the streets.”

Mims’ top priorities include:

  1. Jobs and economic development
  2. Improving neighborhood conditions/safety
  3. Improving police and fire services

“I’m focused on creating a higher median income so jobs, jobs, and jobs. Years ago I made some promises for things I wanted to improve upon as far as the city of Dayton is concerned. Those improvements are in the areas of fixing roads in Dayton, tearing down vacant homes, and hiring more individuals working in police and fire to help make the city safer,” Mims said.

Both candidates plan to tackle police reform. In June 2020, the Dayton City Commission announced the working structure used to drive changes. Mims said he’s proud of the work the city has done so far.

“The process of creating the kind of conditions where our citizens and police have a higher level of trust, and working on policies and things that help citizens understand what their rights are when they come in contact with a police person. Also, the shot spotter that helps us recognize where police weapons have been fired,” he said.

Bowers said he’s in favor of neighborhood policing.

“That is the key. Everything God does is through relationships. He builds a relationship with us. I have a relationship with my wife, kids, and grandchildren so everything in life is based on relationships. I want to see these police in the neighborhoods with neighbors forming relationships with the cops,” he said.