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Akron leaders counter Trump’s pitch to minorities, women and city dwellers

By Doug Livingston
Beacon Journal staff writer

Three Ohio mayors, a city council president and two statehouse lawmakers converged on Akron on Thursday afternoon to stump for the first female Democratic nominee for president.

The band of traveling Democrats were part of a four-day bus tour that began Tuesday in Dayton.

Arriving at the Hillary Clinton headquarters in Wallhaven for her 15th bus stop, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley joined Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan, Cuyahoga Falls Mayor Don Walters, Akron City Council President Marilyn Keith and state Reps. Greta Johnson and Emilia Sykes, each of Akron.

The surrogates made a concerted effort to counter the persistent pleas Donald Trump has made to their constituents.

The Republican nominee visited Dayton manufacturers Wednesday, telling business leaders in Whaley’s hometown that free trade is bad, China cheats and his tax cuts and deregulation would lift the local economy.

“I think that Ohioans know that you put your money where your mouth is. And Trump puts his money in China,” the Dayton mayor said of Trump ties and other name-brand products made overseas.

In Cleveland this month, Trump told a room of mostly African-American students, teachers and parents at a charter school that school choice, coupled with his jobs plan, is the answer to ending poverty and violence in city streets.

Trump’s general election pitch to African-Americans seems half-hearted and disingenuous to Sykes.

“I need a president who says black lives matter because as a black woman and as someone who represents black people I need a president to care about me and people like me,” Sykes said, touting Clinton’s civil rights and criminal justice reform agenda.

Johnson, one of three women at the small pep rally, praised Clinton’s pledge to close the gender pay gap.

“When I think about the first president my daughters will remember,” Johnson said, “I need it to be Hillary Clinton.”

In Akron last month, Trump vowed to put American interests first. Comparing cities in Ohio and Michigan to third world countries, he has asked — directly and on multiple occasions — for blacks and Hispanics to vote for him, to vote Republican.

“I want a candidate who we can believe in, not one that describe inner cities as war zones,” responded Horrigan.

The Akron mayor emceed the low-key Akron event, which drew few reporters.

Horrigan perked up and clasped his hands, as if to pray, when Whaley articulated Clinton’s plan to spend $275 billion in federal funding for American cities, like Akron, to upgrade roads, bridges and sewers.

“That’s a round of applause right there,” Horrigan said, leading the couple dozen volunteers and supporters to cheer on their candidate.

Doug Livingston can be reached at 330-996-3792 or Follow on Twitter: @ABJDoug.