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Elections

Akron City Council Ward 4 representative

9/5/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

DeAndre Forney vs. Russel Neal Jr. (incumbent) vs. Eugene Norris II

Voters living in Akron’s Ward 4 will vote for one candidate for Akron City Council Ward 4 representative on the Sept. 10 Primary Election ballot. Since all three candidates are Democrats, the winner of the race will be decided in the Primary. Below is information that would have appeared in our Voter Guide, which features candidates and issues in the November General Election. Also included below are three position paper questions with answers from the candidates. The information provided below was submitted by the candidates, with their responses to our questions printed as submitted.

 

DeAndre Forney

DeAndre Forney
Personal information: Forney is single.

Political affiliation: Democrat

Age: 30

Resident of: Akron

Education: Graduate, Houston High School, 2001; attended University of Memphis

Profession: Currently, Democratic Precinct Committeeman 4-D

Professional activities: Member, Summit County Progressive Democrats; former vice president, Summit County Young Democrats; former president, Akron Urban League Young Professionals; elected a Barack Obama delegate to the 2008 Democratic Convention in Denver

Campaign website: None provided

What makes you the better candidate?

“I believe I am the best candidate to represent Ward 4 because of the political and government experience I would bring to the job. I would be a full time councilman working around the clock to solve the most pressing issues that we face in our community. I would also because of my youth bring some well needed generational diversity to council.”

Why are you running for Council?

“I am running for Council because I believe that ‘the world is not a dangerous place because of those who do evil but those who do nothing.’ Every day I run into people who feel like our community is being left behind. They see their home values declining and many of them don’t feel safe even in their own homes. I’m running because our current councilman has not got the job done. We can’t keep doing the same thing and expecting different results.”

What would be your top three priorities if you took office? Why?

“My first priority would be the safety of every citizen not just in Ward 4 but the entire City of Akron. Second, I would work to bring together the business and religious community with government to redevelop the Copley Rd area. And third, I would work to make sure that home values in Ward 4 don’t continue to decline by focusing on removing or remodeling vacant and condemned homes and making sure that all lawns are properly maintained throughout the community.”

 

Russel Neal Jr.

Russel Neal Jr.
Personal information: Incumbent Neal is married and has one child.

Political affiliation: Democrat

Age: 51

Resident of: Akron

Education: Graduate, Buchtel High School, 1980; B.A., Ohio University, management and marketing, 1984

Profession: Currently, Akron City Council Ward 4 representative (four years); president and owner, Graffitti Print Shop (24 years); formerly, district manger, Borden Chemical (three-and-one-half years)

Professional activities: Akron City Council Committees: chair, Technology and Parks & Recreation; member, Housing, Planning, Public Service and Health and Social Service

Campaign website: www.vote4RussNeal.com

What makes you the better candidate?

“The experience I have gained having served two terms as the ward councilperson, and my long history of working with neighborhood block clubs, the leadership in our schools and community organizations along with my ability to engaging members of the community in the process of addressing challenges that face the ward, and our city, are what equip me and make me the candidate to serve the residents of ward 4 and the city of Akron.”

Why are you running for Council?

“I am running for re-election to city council so that I can continue to serve my community and the city. The 4 years I have been on council I have been able to work with the residents of Ward 4, and the city, to lay the foundation for healthy community engagement

“Through the principle of collective work & responsibility, I have lead our community in the following initiatives:

“Housing: Worked with city and faith based community in Ward 4 to create partnerships to rehab vacant properties and provide affordable housing for families.

“Policy: Worked with neighborhood block clubs in Ward 4 & across the city to create the city’s policy concerning the removal of street memorials.

“Crime Prevention: Facilitated collaboration between Akron’s Grassroots Organizations, the city and county governments to develop community plan to address youth violence.

“Community Engagement: Created a ward website www.4westakron.groupsite.com in an effort to keep the residents of Ward 4 informed of ward meetings and on the different initiatives taking place in the ward.

“Through inclusive and transparent leadership I have created community forums and ward meetings that provide residents the opportunity to have input in shaping policies that impact our community.

“If re-elected, I will continue to listen, work with and serve the residents of Ward 4 and the city of Akron to help make our ward and city the best it can be.”

What would be your top three priorities if you were re-elected? Why?

“1. Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) Project — Working with the rest of council, the administration, and the citizens of Akron to determine the best way to manage the cost of the CSO Project; and, lessen the financial impact on citizens of Akron, and insure that Akron residents have first priority to the jobs related to working on the CSO Project.

“2. Housing — I will continue to address the housing in Ward 4 that has been hard hit by foreclosures and most recently the severe repeated flooding throughout our ward.

“3. Encourage and Develop Relationships — I will continue working with neighborhood block clubs, business districts, and faith based communities in the ward to develop stronger relationships and collaborations with in the ward and city. This is important because the ultimate answer to addressing issues- crime, education and sustaining strong vibrant communities revolve around us all working together.”

 

Eugene Norris II

Eugene Norris II
Personal information: Norris is married and has three children and three grandchildren.

Political affiliation: Democrat

Age: None provided

Resident of: Akron

Education: Graduate, Buchtel High School; The University of Akron, business administration; Rhema Bible College, pastor studies/theology

Profession: Currently, senior pastor, Mountain of the Lord Fellowship; formerly, firefighter paramedic, Akron Fire Department (five years); formerly, housing director, Association for Better Community Development (seven years); formerly, manager, Cleveland Housing Network (11 years)

Professional activities: Appointed, Felony Drug Court Advisory Committee for Turning Point program; Faith Committee meeting quarterly with Akron Police Chief James Nice; Juvenile Court’s committee to address disproportionate minority contact; former board (Ohio Partner for Affordable Energy) OPAE; vice president, Akron and Vicinity Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance

Campaign website: www.norris4ward4.com

What makes you the better candidate?

“Norris brings valuable experience and know-how to City Council as it discusses broader issues that affect the city as a whole. Norris his diverse background and wide range of skills are needed to help Ward 4 deal with its challenges, among them crime, economic development and housing. Norris administers energy efficiency programs in over 30 counties in Ohio managing some $20-million dollars in resources. He promoted community and economic development in housing, business, and training in the United States and as well as the continent of Africa.

“Norris initiated the formation of ‘Charisma Community Connection’ a Faith-based Community Development Organization which oversees: Bridges Center for Youth Advocacy, Minority Health programming and the ‘Violence Free Zone (VFZ)’ in the Copley Road corridor of west Akron. Norris initiated FameFathers a fatherhood program which has brought to the community over $300,000 promoting responsible, committed and involved fathers. Initiated the fathers walk were we have seen upwards of 4000 fathers and father figures attend school with our youth.

“On August 20th Norris was honored by being endorsed by the Akron Beacon Journal for the 4th ward.”

Why are you running for Council?

“I would like to service the greater 4th ward with the seek and knowledge I have acquired over the years to service for the betterment of the 4th ward.”

What would be your top three priorities if you took office? Why?

“1) Economic Development

“2) Public Safety

“3) Housing”

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