Russel Neal, Akron’s Ward 4 councilman since 2010, ran unopposed two years ago. This year is a different story. Neal won a tough, three-way Democratic primary against Eugene Norris, senior pastor and founder of Mountain of the Lord Fellowship, and DeAndre Forney, a young Democrat who had twice before run in the ward.
Neal’s battle isn’t over. In the general election, he faces a challenge from Valerie Jackson, an independent candidate.
We recommend the re-election of Russel Neal on Nov. 5.
Neal, a print shop owner, founded the Buchtel High School Alumni Association. As a council member, he has continued a strong record of community involvement, consistently preaching the message of “unity in the community.”
For his ward, on the city’s west side, to move forward, Neal correctly insists that it must pull together. True to his word, he has worked with city officials and those in the faith-based community on housing rehabilitation, and he has been involved with block clubs and the city to combat violent crime. In a third term, one challenge for Neal is to turn grass-roots involvement and collaboration into tangible results for his ward.
Jackson, a substitute teacher in the Akron Public Schools, has been involved in the Akron Black Women’s Leadership Caucus, which provides college scholarships. In her first race, she is focused on confronting gun violence by providing more recreational opportunities for young people.