Issues, candidates debate at forum

Sheriff’s race, city recreation levy discussed

By Melanie Yingst -

MIAMI COUNTY — The Troy Junior High cafeteria was full of students and residents eager to learn more about a variety of local issues and candidates on the Nov. 8 ballot at the annual Leadership Troy Alumni’s “Meet the Candidates” on Thursday evening.

This forum featured candidates and issues facing the voters in Troy and Concord Township in the general election including, U.S. House of Representatives 8th District candidates Warren Davidson and Steven Fought; Miami County Sheriff candidates Chief Deputy David Duchak and Joe Mahan; the “Operation Recreation” 10-year 2.1 mills levy for Duke Park North, Miami Shores and Senior Citizens Center improvements; the five-year 3.7 mills levy renewal for Concord Township Fire and EMS services; and the Tri-County Board of Recovery and Mental Health Services Levy Renewal.

Republican Chief Deputy Dave Duchak and Independent candidate Joe Mahan answered a variety of questions regarding the sheriff’s office duties and their views how they would protect the county.

An audience member asked the sheriff’s candidates their stance on the “Just Say No” to drug campaign and if the drug issue in Miami County is a more complex problem.

“There has to be education to try to have people make an informed choice,” Mahan said. “I don’t understand why people put poison in their body even once they are told what could happen with the Fentanyl and the heroin out there now — it’s like playing Russian Roulette. When it comes to educational sides of things, it has to start at home.”

Mahan said the message to say no to drugs can be reinforced in the schools and law enforcement and other social services.

Duchak said he believes drug use is a more complex problem, with the most dangerous drug being heroin.

“We aren’t seeing it enter into our schools. It’s the adults, (with) the opiate addiction when they can’t get prescriptions, they are migrating over to heroin, which is cheap. It is a complex problem, which we are fighting on three different fronts,” Duchak said. “We really truly need help from our federal partners. As long as heroin continues to wash across our southern borders, and in the amounts that it is, us locals are treading water.”

Duchak and Mahan shared their views on body cameras, recreational and medical marijuana, local CCW license waiting periods, and post-traumatic stress and its effect on law enforcement officers. For more details about their views on these issues, see the Sunday edition of the Miami Valley Sunday News.

Warren Davidson and Steven Fought also fielded a variety of questions ranging from taxes, marijuana and their choice for Speaker of the House. For a detailed account of their responses, see the Saturday edition of the Troy Daily News and the Piqua Daily Call.

Alan Kappers, president of the board of park commissioners, answered questions regarding the “Operation Recreation 2020” levy. If passed, the additional 10-year 2.01 mills tax levy would fund recreation projects at Duke Park North, the Troy Senior Citizens Center and Miami Shores Golf Course. The levy is not a city-led effort.

If passed, the levy would generate approximately $8 million over the 10-year period for proposed Duke Park North baseball and soccer field expansion and improvements, and renovation, repairs, and maintenance at the Troy Senior Citizens Center and Miami Shores golf course clubhouse.

“For years the lonely (Knoop ballfields) complex on (County Road) 25-A has flooded sometimes multiple times during each ball season,” Kappers said. “Although the primary purpose of the (Duke Park North) expansion might be to facilitate baseball diamonds for the Little Leaguers, the improvements of that portion of Duke Park will also provide walking trails, picnic shelters, and other amenities.”

Kappers said the levy would pay for Troy Senior Citizens Center improvements such as a new roof. Kappers said the levy will also fund Miami Shores golf course upgrades to its buildings.

Kappers said the recreation levy is a “quality of life” issue.

“As the population in the city increases, it’s much more difficult to maintain the quality of our park system without an infusion of capital,” Kappers said. “This is not a permanent levy. I am proud of our parks system and I hope you are, too. I hope you vote in favor of the recreation levy and vote for the kids and the tax levy.”

Sheriff’s race, city recreation levy discussed

By Melanie Yingst

Reach Melanie Yingst at or follow her on Twitter @Troydailynews

Reach Melanie Yingst at or follow her on Twitter @Troydailynews