Policymakers meet in Dayton to discuss issues impacting Ohio communities
On Tuesday, several urban and rural mayors met in Dayton with a bipartisan group of state lawmakers. The mayors and legislators discussed topics ranging from gun control to economic development, jobs creation and ways state and local governments can collaborate further.
All of the mayors are members of the Ohio Mayors Alliance — a bipartisan coalition of mayors of Ohio’s largest urban and suburban communities.
Dayton Mayor Jeff Mims was at the meeting, as well as Beavercreek Mayor Bob Stone, and Kettering Mayor Peggy Lehner.
One of the key highlights was the issue of gun control and safety. This comes after gun deaths in Ohio reached a near record high in 2021. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1,900 in Ohio died in 2021 because of a firearm.
Mims said leaders discussed how local and state governments can collaborate more to better target violent offenders.
“Some of our legislators earlier mentioned the aspect of how we look at repeat offenders and finding ways that we can collaborate and focus on those to help minimize some of the things that are happening in our respective communities,” Mims said.
Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther said he’s already in discussions with state representatives to possibly introduce bipartisan legislation aimed at gun safety, like strengthening Ohio’s weapons under disability law — which prevents a person from having a gun if they were convicted for a felony.
“Obviously, there's going to be a wide variety of views about what needs to be done around gun safety,” Ginther said. “We think that is a place where there can be strong bipartisan support and help us really target the individuals that are creating the most violence in our cities.”
This was the second annual mayors and lawmakers meeting hosted by the Ohio Mayors Alliance. The first was hosted with Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb last summer.
Alejandro Figueroa is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.
Copyright 2023 WYSO.