LIMA — For those who gathered at a Women for Berger campaign event Thursday at Veterans Memorial Civic Center, the message was clear that Lima is moving in a positive direction, but there is still work left to do.
Attendees gathered at the Civic Center balcony to demonstrate their support for the incumbent mayor, with keynote speaker Nan Whaley, mayor of Dayton and Democratic gubernatorial candidate, calling Berger a mentor.
“When you’re the mayor, you don’t have the luxury of looking away and saying, ‘It’s not my problem,’” she said. “You have to get the job done. What’s amazing to me in my fourth year as mayor is that you have a mayor who has been doing that day in and day out every day for the past 28 years.”
Whaley called Berger a leader among mayors, both in the state and nation, citing Berger’s encouragement for Whaley to help form the Ohio Mayor’s Alliance, which was formed last year.
“It has the top 30 cities in the state of Ohio, and Lima is number 30,” she said. “The reason why is that I could never put a group together to talk about issues facing our communities without Mayor Berger at the table.”
Berger continued to push his message of a Lima in recovery, experiencing its best economy in four decades.
“The big job in front of us now is not creating jobs, but rather connecting people to those jobs,” he said. “It’s making sure our workforce understands the opportunities that are there, that they get the training and they get plugged into those opportunities.”
He also criticized his opponent, Keith Cheney, saying that he has not demonstrated any interest in the issues facing the city until he decided to run for mayor. He pointed to the closure of the Lima Correctional Institution, which was done during a time when a Republican was governor.
“This year has been a photobomb opportunity [for Cheney],” he said. “He’s now going to all of these places and saying he’s now interested in these issues. He’s not interested. He has been on the sidelines and he has been enabling those who have been eroding our community.”