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Pair of former council members file for open seat

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    City Secretary Jennifer Billings holds the basket as former Dayton City Council members Sherial Lawson and Josh Townsend draw for a place on the May 6 ballot. Lawson won the luck of the draw and will appear first.

DAYTON – Following the recent and unexpected passing of longtime community leader and city councilman Dwight Pruitt, the city called a special election to fill the remainder of his term. 

The deadline to file the necessary paperwork for Position 1 came at 5 p.m. Monday, March 27, and a pair of former city council members did just that. Former councilman Josh Townsend, who previously held that same position, will be squaring off against former councilwoman Sherial Lawson. 

Lawson was replaced on council last May after losing to current Position 2 Councilwoman Janette Goulder-Frick. In that race, Townsend also came up short in an unsuccessful bid for that same position. 

“While I did not win reelection, my heart is still serving the citizens of Dayton,” said Lawson, who was excited to see the city had voted this week to lower water bills for local seniors at their most recent meeting. 

According to Townsend, he plans on working to lower water bills for all residents and stepping in to serve the city that will already have two new councilmembers and a brand-new mayor after the May 6 election.  

"I feel like the loss of such an incredible leader like Dwight has left a huge void on the council and that Dayton needs some real experience going forward. I plan to go to work immediately and help lower the financial burden on the taxpayers and reduce water rates for every citizen," said Townsend. 

Also on that ballot are mayoral candidates Martin Mudd and Mike George, as both candidates are vying to replace outgoing mayor Caroline Wadzeck, who decided not to seek a third term in that office. It is also of note that the next mayor will be elected to a three-year term under new rules adopted by voters last May. 

In the race for Position 4, Tonya Smikal will face no opponent and will take over for outgoing councilman Andy Conner. 

The race for Position 5, currently held by Alvin Burress, will see Ron Peroni challenging Valerie Barton. Burress initially filed the necessary paperwork for another term before pulling out just before candidates drew for a place on the ballot. 

Just days before early voting begins, all candidates will have an opportunity to meet the public and address questions from voters on Tuesday, April 18, at 6:30 p.m. during a candidates' forum at the community center. 

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