YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The primary election for Democrats running for Youngstown City Council is just a week away.
We caught up with those looking to serve the Second and Fifth wards in the city.
Incumbent Jimmie Hughes and his primary opponent Ra’Cole Taltoan are looking to serve the Second Ward. The former city police chief is seeking his second term in office and defeated Taltoan four years ago.
Taltoan says her focus is on economic development while Hughes says he brings decades of service in the city to the job.
“When you talk about the training, education and experience that I have, It’s just hard to set it down on a bench not to keep it going to the public,” Hughes said.
“I am big on building small businesses and keeping them here, which means we’ll have an economic layout in the Second Ward and be able to bring in more jobs,’ said Ra’Cole Taltoan.
Both candidates say residents in their ward, and the East Side in general, sometimes feel they’re being neglected while others are being helped.
“And this is going back before I decided to run in 2019. I always said that I felt like the East Side of Youngstown was Youngstown’s stepchild, but I believe it is Youngstown’s best-kept secret,” Taltoan said.
“You want to walk out of your house and feel comfortable that you live on the East side. You don’t want the East Side to be that part of Youngstown that’s not forgotten about by the administration. you want those things improved,” Hughes said.
Two candidates seeking the Fifth Ward nomination are looking for their first election victory.
Incumbent Pat Kelly was appointed to succeed Councilwoman Lauren McNally, who is now a state representative.
Challenger Carie Watson is a fifth-grade teacher at the Youngstown Community School and also sought the appointment back in January.
“When the process all began, there were seven council people that kind of got to pick who they thought was going to be the best representative, and moving forward, I didn’t think seven people was enough,” Watson said. “I started this journey because I wanted to be involved in creating space that I want to be in. I feel as though the city is a little bit disconnected, and I feel like I am the person that going to be able to bring us together,” Watson said.
Kelly said that he has learned what the problems are and what the residents are dealing with.
“I learned where to send the problems to fix it, and I like doing that,” Kelly said. “I’m trying to bridge that gap a little bit. So that’s what I bring to the table. I can bridge that gap and make phone calls to people that maybe other people can’t,” Kelly said.