While the city council president’s job responsibilities are minimal, the four candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for the post want to do much more if elected.
Running in the May 2 Democratic primary are:
4th Ward Councilman Mike Ray, 40, who’s served in that position since December 2010 and also is a technical service supervisor for AEP/United Sciences Testing Inc.
John R. Swierz, 71, a former council president, 7th Ward councilman and a retired firefighter. He unsuccessfully ran in the 2005 Democratic primary for mayor.
DeMaine Kitchen, 39, a former 2nd Ward councilman and chief of staff to the mayor when Charles Sammarone ran the city. Kitchen also is a self-employed insurance agent and lost the 2013 mayoral race as an independent.
Young Tensley, 56, a political newcomer who is working toward a bachelor’s degree in religious studies at Youngstown State University.
If elected, Ray wants to continue focusing on increasing public safety, economic development and demolishing vacant houses as well as have the city put resources into making reliable internet access available to its residents.
Swierz says he’d call for discussions of joint economic development district agreements with surrounding townships, and regionalization to reduce duplication of services.
Kitchen would push for an expansion of the Community Initiative to Reduce Violence program to launch an initiative
to encourage fathers to actively engage in the lives of their children to help improve academic performance, stabilize neighborhoods, reduce incarceration and help with job preparedness.
Tensley, a member of the Frackfree Mahoning Valley group that opposes fracking in the city, said he wants to protect Youngstown’s water system and wants the city to develop a plan to bring a full-service grocery store to parts of Youngstown not served by one.
Kitchen also responded to questions about his resignation from chief of staff when a December 2013 report from an investigator hired by the city concluded he sexually harassed Lyndsey Hughes, then a city employee, and his acceptance of
a $4,000 cash contribution from Sammarone during the 2013 election.
Read what he said and more about all the candidates in Friday's Vindicator or on Vindy.com.