Lima mayoral candidates share their visions

By Staff Reports -







Lima’s mayor candidates for the 2021 primary are, from left, Elizabeth Hardesty, Joshua Hayes, Sharetta Smith and Autumn Swanson.


See past coverage of the Lima mayoral race at

The Lima News will share the four Lima mayoral candidates’ answers to a different question each week through the May 4 primary.

Candidates were given up to 200 words to explain their answer, and they had four days to respond. Their answers appear as they submitted them, with minimal editing.

This week’s question:

The mayoral race is all about a person’s vision for Lima. What’s your vision of how Lima might look and feel in 2025 should you win this year’s election?

Elizabeth Hardesty

This is an exciting time for Lima. After 30 years of heading in one direction, we have that rare opportunity to change course and reshape our city forever; and with the financial resources to actually do it. My campaign represents a new path, with a fresh vision that will bring a TRUE change to Lima. Lima has always built things. It’s who we are.

My vision for Lima, is to build something again — together. We will build a city founded on hope and hard work. We will build communication between the city, the county and the townships to foster greater collaboration. We will build strong neighborhoods by increasing access to home-ownership. We will build partnerships between our educational institutions and employers to promote greater economic development. We will build stronger essential services for a safer city. We will build more recreational opportunities. We will build opportunities for the entire community, not just the few.

This is my vision. The hopes, cares and concerns of the people of Lima will no longer go unheard. I trust that those who truly believe in change will prove it by casting your vote for me, Elizabeth Hardesty for Mayor.

Joshua Hayes

I have spent my life seeing things not as they are but what they could be. Helping others to move past limitations into something greater. I consistently tell my patients that if your doctor doesn’t believe that you can get better, then you need to find a new one.

I’ve witnessed people heal from things that their medical doctor told them they couldn’t. The act of believing in the possibility that someone can be healed and sharing that with them, allows people to imagine a new path. It allows for miracles to be revealed.

Without vision, the people perish. Wandering aimlessly, toiling around the mountain, yet never reaching the top. This is the story of Lima for the past few decades.

I have already seen our city and its’ people proclaim victory. Moving past the limiting belief patterns that are keeping things the way they are.

I see Lima becoming a city known for their agricultural prowess and sustainable food and wellness industries.

I see safe neighborhoods where people have a strong sense community and loving connection with each other.

I see empowered people courageously fulfilling their purpose.

And I think that it’s time for others to see it too.

Sharetta Smith

Over the last four years we’ve seen downtown investments increase from $20M to $52M; the number of available jobs increase from 1700 to 2200; home-ownership and median home values increase; $500K invested in our parks; over $4M invested in neighborhoods; and $200K in new youth programming.

Within the context of this momentum, starts our next chapter and a new vision. We will grow our economy by putting people back to work with a focus on livable wage jobs, cutting the red tape for small businesses to expedite growth; and doing more to help entrepreneurs. Our recovery won’t just be about economics.

We will also:

• Bring our police and communities together to further decrease crime and deepen the bonds between police and community;

• Bridge the digital divide and provide access to affordable broadband

• Address systemic discrimination and defend the rights of protected groups by reinvigorating the Human Relations Commission

• Strengthen our neighborhoods by providing quality affordable housing, access to transportation and jobs, and retail and food options; and

• Provide every child with the resources they need for life-time success.

Lastly, we will rally our confidence that a better Lima is emerging and make our story the largest comeback story ever told.

Autumn Swanson

In four years a great deal can be accomplished with planning, vision and leadership. Our parks are clean but programming is practically non-existent, our businesses complain that permits are slow and difficult. Our neighborhood associations have virtually no support or engagement with the city. Our police are isolated in cars and react to emergencies but are not in the business of prevention. Lima has no comprehensive plan.

I envision a Lima where neighborhood associations and the city work consistently and daily to plan and solve problems. I envision a permit process that rewards departments for speed, accuracy and customer service, making our process Ohio’s best. I see year-round parks programming that engages our kids with sports and life skills. I see a fully implemented community-oriented policing system that places officers with neighborhoods, building relationships and preventing crime before it starts. I see the creation of a comprehensive plan that takes us to 2030.

The next Mayor cannot isolate or divide, the next Mayor must be ready to connect our community. I am ready to provide leadership and vision. I am ready to work with everyone in our community and this vision of change will give us a stronger Lima.

Lima’s mayor candidates for the 2021 primary are, from left, Elizabeth Hardesty, Joshua Hayes, Sharetta Smith and Autumn Swanson.’s mayor candidates for the 2021 primary are, from left, Elizabeth Hardesty, Joshua Hayes, Sharetta Smith and Autumn Swanson.

By Staff Reports


See past coverage of the Lima mayoral race at

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