LIMA — The race to become Shawnee Township Trustee is now underway. Two candidates, photographer Michael Ayers and former Lima City Council President Keith Cunningham both threw their names into the race on Friday afternoon, but with a twist. Both of them officially filed the paperwork to run a joint campaign.
The two filed a petition with the Allen County Board of Elections to campaign together. With two trustee positions coming open for Shawnee Township, the pair hopes to each win one.
The two men felt the need to run together instead of compete against each other because of their skills and their similar hopes for Shawnee Township.
“Michael and I are good friends and have similar visions for the township, so there’s no reason for us to compete with one another,” Cunningham said. “So we’ve chosen to move the campaign forward in a joint method.”
Although they are running a joint campaign, their names will appear separately on the ballot, requiring voters to fill in each of their bubbles individually on Election Day.
Both Ayers and Cunningham are longtime residents of Shawnee Township, having worked and raised their families in the area. Along with being a former City Council President, Cunningham has also served as director of the Allen County Board of Elections.
“We both love this community, we both love the township. Shawnee has been good to us,” Ayers said. “We love the people, we love the schools, we love the churches, the businesses, the industry, and we want to see it take off.”
The candidates share the sentiment that leadership within the township needs to improve to make Shawnee a better place.
“We have an agenda of ideas and thoughts about moving the township forward in a way that makes it a better place to live and work in the future,” Ayers said. “There is some degree of dissatisfaction with the current administration in the township, and we feel that more should be done and could be done. That’s why we’re here.”