Dayton firefighters snub Dayton mayor, endorse Cincinnati leader for governor

Dayton Fire Fighters Local 136 President Kraig Robinson announces the union's endorsement of Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley over Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley in the Democratic primary race for Ohio governor Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2021.

Credit: Josh Sweigart

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Dayton Fire Fighters Local 136 President Kraig Robinson announces the union's endorsement of Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley over Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley in the Democratic primary race for Ohio governor Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2021.

Credit: Josh Sweigart

Credit: Josh Sweigart

The union representing Dayton firefighters on Wednesday announced their endorsement of Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley over Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley in the Democratic primary for Ohio governor.

Kraig Robinson, president of International Association of Fire Fighters Local 136, said Whaley has not appeared to make public safety a priority, allowing fire stations to remain closed even while the city receives massive federal stimulus money.

“(Whaley) touts that she is a friend of labor, and she has routinely used budget solutions in the city to shut down fire stations,” Robinson said. “The over-arching concern of the firefighter’s union is that we’re pitching public safety, but there’s a station on the west side of Dayton that has been empty half of this year and no one cares.”

Fire Station 10 on South Broadway Street in Dayton has been closed for several months as part of a rotating series of station closures, called brownouts, in place for years to reduce fire department costs and address staffing shortages.

Courtney Rice, spokeswoman for Whaley’s campaign, said Dayton is using federal funds to support public safety services. On Wednesday, the city announced it would use $11 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds to “address community health and crime through a new joint Police-Fire station with space for the community.”

“As mayor, Nan has made public safety a top priority,” Rice said. “As president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, she was instrumental in helping to pass the American Rescue Plan, which provided much needed funding for Dayton’s firefighter and police recruit class and a new joint police-fire station, as well as other crucial investments in our community.”

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Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, is seeking the Democratic nomination in the Ohio gubernatorial race. Whaley said Thursday, Aug. 5, 2021, she will visit all 88 Ohio counties by early May, pledging to give voters “a voice, to listen to them and to give them power, because Ohio deserves better.” MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, is seeking the Democratic nomination in the Ohio gubernatorial race.  Whaley said Thursday, Aug. 5, 2021, she will visit all 88 Ohio counties by early May, pledging to give voters “a voice, to listen to them and to give them power, because Ohio deserves better.” MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF

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Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, is seeking the Democratic nomination in the Ohio gubernatorial race. Whaley said Thursday, Aug. 5, 2021, she will visit all 88 Ohio counties by early May, pledging to give voters “a voice, to listen to them and to give them power, because Ohio deserves better.” MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF

Robinson said it’s a “slap in the face” to local firefighters that Whaley touts a pro-union stance while campaigning in northern Ohio but ignores the concerns of the union that works for her here.

Cranley said he increased funding to Cincinnati’s fire department when he became mayor, increasing firefighter pay and ceasing brownouts there.

“I knew what my priorities were,” he said. “There’s no excuse for brownouts given the amount of money the Biden administration has delivered to the major cites in Ohio.”

If elected governor, Cranley said he would work to restore local government fund cuts by Republican leadership to further fund local public safety.

“I promise I will restore the local government fund to make sure that we don’t defund police and fire but refund police and fire in all communities in Ohio,” he said.

Rice said restoring local government funding has been a priority for Whaley as well, demonstrated through her involvement with the Ohio Mayors Alliance, which she helped found.

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Both Cranley’s and Whaley’s campaign websites boast hundreds of endorsements. Cranley’s list includes firefighters unions in Columbus and Cincinnati as well. At the top of Whaley’s list is U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio.

Both include labor unions. And both lists include endorsements poached from each other’s regions.

Among Cranley’s endorsements are former Dayton mayor Rhine McLin and Trotwood Mayor Mary McDonald.

Among Whaley’s endorsements are Cincinnati City School Board Member Mike Moroski and Hamilton County Sheriff Charmaine McGuffey.

“(Whaley has) led the way on implementing commonsense police policy changes by bringing together folks from across her community to address challenges together — building trust and making everyone safer in the process,” McGuffey said in a statement when she endorsed Whaley.

Cranley said he supported the Democratic incumbent McGuffey unseated in last year’s primary, which is why she is supporting his opponent.

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