LIMA — The Lima Area Black Ministerial Alliance announced its endorsement of Mayor David Berger during a news conference Sunday afternoon.
Pastors not only have a spiritual duty to their community but also have a civic duty, said alliance President the Rev. Dr. Dennis M. Ward. Most of the pastors who make up the alliance are from Lima and they want to see the city grow and succeed, he said.
To that end they have taken an active role in helping the residents of Lima instead of ignoring the social issues effecting the city, Ward said.
“LABMA has been very active in the community by providing funding to numerous city projects,” he said. “We serve as mentors to our youth and we have taken a proactive approach to the growth of this city.”
In March, the alliance held three town hall meetings where topics such as race relations in the community, the tension between law enforcement and minorities, education, and many other important issues plaguing Lima.
“After interviewing all three candidates, and listening very carefully mind you, we decided that Mayor Berger would be the best one to address these issues,” Ward said. “As leaders, we want to work with him. We have scheduled regular meetings that we can sit down and we can talk. Because, if you’re not at the table you, than you don’t have a voice.”
Ward let Berger know the alliance would work with the mayor and his staff to improve Lima. Berger told the media, the alliance members and residents how he appreciated the endorsement and the conversations he’s had with them.
“I understand the issues that Pastor Ward just outlined,” Berger said. “I, the police chief, and others of the administration are committed to continuing to work with the Black Ministerial Alliance, other clergy within our community, with the entire community to make certain these issues are addressed in positive and meaningful ways.”
Lima has the strongest economy in more than 40 years and there is a surplus of more than 1,000 jobs in the community, Berger said, adding more needs to be done to connect the people who want to work with those jobs.
“I believe anyone who works full time should not have to rely on public assistance in order to make ends meet,” he said. “As your mayor, I will continue to work to explore new ways to connect people to the workforce. When people have no opportunities and no hope they make poor decisions.”
Reach Bryan Reynolds 567-242-0362