The mayoral candidates focus on economic, COVID-19 recovery in platforms
By Sophie Boulter and Ethan Nichols, World News Editor and Staff Writer
Hamilton County Clerk Aftab Pureval and City Councilman David Mann will participate in a debate hosted by Xavier and the Cincinnati Enquirer next Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Cintas Center. Pureval and Mann emerged from a crowded May primary from which, under city election law, the top two candidates compete in the fall election.
Pureval and Mann are both Democrats running in the mayoral race.
Xavier’s Government Relations Director Sean Comer helped set up the debate between the two candidates, hosted by the Enquirer in conjunction with Xavier and WVXU.
“We (at the university) want to be seen as a leader in… framing up good conversations,” Comer said.
He explained that Cincinnati’s mayoral race is nonpartisan, so the ballot does not state their partisan affiliation. The top two candidates in the primary move on to the election regardless of their party.
“They may run a more conservative or more liberal campaign, but you have… two candidates who are Democrats running for mayor,” he said.
Pureval, 38, was first elected to the clerk’s office in 2016.
“He made a run at Congress in 2018 and was unsuccessful in his bid,” Comer said, referring to Pureval’s race against U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Ohio. Pureval was re-elected as Clerk of Courts in 2020.
In his current campaign, Pureval continues to focus on COVID-19 and its impact on renters.
An advocate for renters’ protections and services for those facing eviction, Pureval has supported an eviction moratorium during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In June 2020, Pureval set up a Tenant Help Center as eviction proceedings resumed in Hamilton County.
Pureval has also released two policy papers for his current campaign. One 19-page document focuses on what he calls his “One Cincinnati Economic Recovery Plan.” The document includes sections for recovery, growth and equity.
The other policy is his 14-page “Affordable Housing Plan.” The policy contains four sections focused on reforming the zoning code process, partnering with developers and landlords to incentivize affordable housing, assisting tenants facing evictions and creating programs to support homeownership among low-income families.
David Mann, 81, has served as a city councilmember for more than 20 years.
After four years in the Navy and earning a law degree from Harvard, Mann was elected to the Cincinnati City Council in 1974, serving until 1992.
During that period, when Cincinnati’s mayor was not independently elected, Mann served as mayor from 1980-1982 and again in 1991.
In 1992, he was elected to Congress, serving one term before losing his re-election bid in 1994.
“He served in the term in Congress, then stepped out of politics for a long time… close to 20 years,” Comer said.
In 2013, Mann ran again for Cincinnati City Council and has served there continuously since.
Mann’s policy page on his website focuses on what he refers to as “The Mann Plan: Lifting Up Black Cincinnati.” The plan focuses on seven issues — COVID-19 response, economic growth, education, police, environmental health, life expectancy and the future.
Mann’s policy page emphasizes his experience serving with Cincinnati’s first African American city manager, Sylvester Murray. The page also describes Mann’s experience of being mayor when a federal decree mandated Black and female representation in police recruit classes and in promotions.
Both Pureval and Mann strongly emphasize their support for Black Cincinnatians in their policy platforms and also focus upon pandemic recovery and economic growth.
Comer expects these topics — especially as they relate to infrastructure and to each candidate’s past political experience — to come up during the debate next Tuesday.