YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – With COVID restrictions in place, the three candidates for Youngstown Mayor have been unable to run traditional campaigns.
For the first time, Ryan Kelly, Julius Oliver and Tito Brown met in a debate Monday. It was virtual, but it gave voters some insight into where each candidate stands.
All three are running for the Democratic nomination.
The debate began with each candidate outlining where they came from.
“After graduation from Ursuline, I used my graduation money and bought my first Belleria restaurant,” Kelly said.
Oliver attended Youngstown State University and started his own business.
“Went to YSU, didn’t graduate because I opened my own business – Kingly Hand Wash and Wax. I do have plans on going back and finishing my degree,” Julius Oliver said.
Brown listed several civic duties.
“I was on the school board. I was a city council member. I was the president of Council, and now I’m mayor. Not many people can say that they’ve done that,” said Mayor Tito Brown.
Youngstown Clerk of Courts Sarah Brown Clark listed 10 campaign promises made by Brown, which she claimed the mayor has not fulfilled. Brown disagrees.
“I think many of the things you talked about have been addressed and/or attempted,,” Brown said.
The candidates were asked how to keep young people from moving away. Oliver said adequate housing needs to be a priority.
“People want to live with modern amenities. They want nice houses and good neighborhoods so they can be proud of what they have,” he said.
Kelly, who has never run for political office, gave a bit of an idea of what his administration might look like.
“If you don’t fear the fact of not being reelected, then you won’t be afraid to take risks. And the bigger risk is doing things the same way we’ve been doing them,” Kelly said.
Brown said he has been working hard trying to market Youngstown.
“We’ve been advocating at the state and national level that Youngstown’s open for business. We’ve found more now that we have local developers who are investing more money in our community than we have in the past,”
Early voting for the primary election begins tomorrow. Election day is May 4th.