WILMINGTON— Pat Haley, former sheriff and commissioner in Clinton County, has announced he will be running in the May Republican primary election for mayor of the City of Wilmington.
Haley, who is married to Brenda Freeman Haley, served two four-year terms as county commissioner from 2010-18. His law enforcement career began with a stint with the Wilmington Police Department prior to joining the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office. He was elected as sheriff and served two four-year terms from 1980-88.
Current mayor John Stanforth, a Republican, is serving his second term in the position of mayor. His term expires Dec. 31, 2023.
“My professional qualifications are well suited to execute the duties of this office. I understand the need for sound fiscal policies, strong law enforcement, personnel management, sensible taxation, traffic management, and the need for transparency in government. None can be taken lightly, and must be given the day-to-day attention they require,” Haley told the News Journal.
Haley said his campaign will focus on four key points. The first is crime.
“Citizens have repeatedly shared with me anecdotal evidence and personal accounts about an increase in petty crime. They have experienced stolen property, trespassing on private property, aggressive behavior, public indecency, and a swarm of other social crimes,” he said. “As concerned parents, they are worried when their children tell them of finding dirty needles near the schools, in the parks, on the steps of churches, and on city streets. Citizens need to feel safe to use our parks and trails, to do business downtown, have their children walk to school or around the block.”
Haley said there’s an “infiltration of non-residents committing crimes” and that this is not an accepted norm in other communities.
“We’re seeing a general disorder within our community that is frightening people. Citizens not only dread crime, but they also fear being confronted by disorderly people. Not necessarily violent people, but unpredictable people,” Haley said. “As a former sheriff, I will partner with the police department and provide them the resources and support they need. We will ensure our bike trails, city parks, playgrounds, public spaces, sidewalks and downtown streets remain open and clear of criminality.”
If elected, Haley said he will emphasize community-based policing and will back a system for early detection and crime prevention.
“We will change how the city handles those committing crimes and lowering the citizens’ quality of life,” he said.
The second key point of Haley’s campaign is charity.
“It is my belief we need to provide aid and help to the disadvantaged. There are the needy who seek help perhaps because of devastating medical expenses, domestic violence, divorce, or the loss of a job or a loved one,” Haley said. “I recognize the importance of helping the less fortunate to get back on their feet, to be able once again to live a productive, fruitful life, and not allow their present circumstances to become a permanent way of existence.”
He added that it’s important when talking about the issue of homelessness to “recognize there are two vastly distinct categories of people involved. My concern is with the lifestyle and addiction-driven, who are committing crimes. The challenge is to supply help to the truly indigent, while holding the criminals accountable for their unlawful behavior. I believe it is crucial that homelessness not become a homeless-industrial complex in Wilmington.”
The third key point of his campaign is transparency.
“Sunlight, as the saying goes, is the best disinfectant,” Haley said. “It is important citizens of Wilmington have access to the data in a clear, easy to understand format to ensure they understand how the City of Wilmington interacts with their lives.”
The final aspect of the campaign is communication, according to Haley.
“As a former Clinton County commissioner, I believe one of the keys to success as mayor is providing leadership that understands the importance of communication. That includes internally within the mayor’s office, with all other city departments, and the citizens,” he said. “If elected mayor, I will communicate effectively with citizens and share information. Citizens will have a voice and the opportunity to express their views. As mayor, I will be available, working in the office every day. I will offer an open-door environment. I will also ensure open and professional communication with the city council through regularly-scheduled, public meetings.”
Haley added he believes it’s essential that the public be able to obtain prompt answers to their issues and concerns from the mayor’s office.
The primary election in Ohio is scheduled for May 2, 2023. Stay with the News Journal for more on the mayoral race as additional candidates announce their intentions to run.