New name on ballot for Kettering mayoral race


Kettering Mayoral candidate, Nuponu Gorneleh is hoping to add a fresh, new outlook in his community.

By Jairi Walker, Flyer Staff

The city of Kettering will be seeing a new name on the ballot this year, as Fairmont alum, Nuponu Gorneleh, runs against the incumbent Don Patterson. The election is scheduled to take place Nov. 7, 2017.

Gorneleh, who graduated from Fairmont High School in 2011, said he is running for mayor because he thought that it was better than sitting around and waiting for someone he wants to see take office. If Gorneleh becomes mayor, he wants to give power to the voters.

“I want to operate in a transparent way,” he said. Nuponu wants to be open to the public in terms of ideas and not hide his plans or motives.

Gorneleh is big on accountability. Some issues that he would like to try and address are the heroin epidemic and other drug related issues throughout the Dayton area. He wants to be the mayor that everyone can count on, young or old.

One fact about Gorneleh is that he is incredibly young. At age 25, he is currently going through college at Wright State University, majoring in social psychology, and is serious about running for mayor. While some support him for his effort, others doubt him because of his age and lack of political experience.

Gorneleh is not a fan of useless platitude and news controversy. He believes that one should be true to their word. He doesn’t have a political background and he chooses not to have an opinion about conflict in the news or controversial subjects. 

“I’m a social psychology major, not a political psychology major, so for the most part, I’m indifferent to most political matters in the news,” Gorneleh said.

Advertising and campaigning are not easy tasks. He is going door to door with flyers, posters and campaign promises. Gorneleh also has a  facebook page to help promote his candidacy. 

Ayashe Alcorn is his campaign manager, treasurer and main advocate. She is also a 2011 Fairmont graduate and long-time friend of Gorneleh. Alcorn is the the one behind the scenes who is pulling the strings so to speak, and keeping Gorneleh’s campaign together.

Being the mayor is a very important job, and if he is instated, Gorneleh wants to take his mayoral duties seriously. If he becomes mayor, Gorneleh wants to represent the people. In addition to this, he is going to continue working at his current job at Starbucks in Kettering. 

Gorneleh knows that every candidate has their own strengths and weaknesses. He believes that one of his weaknesses is that he might be too open to the council. Gorneleh considers himself a very open and accepting person, and he isn’t too quick to shoot down new ideas, even if they’re bad.

In terms of strengths, Gorneleh thinks that his youth is one of them. He feels that he is a great listener and that he is good at getting people’s honest opinions. He doesn’t consider his age a weakness. He sees it as a connection to this generation and future generations to come. 

“It’s so good to see younger people involved in politics,” Gorneleh said.

In regards to issue 28, which limits the amount of consecutive four year terms served to two, he thinks that it’s great that any one person can’t serve on the council for an indefinite amount of time. That way policies stay fresh and up to date.

“Governments are made to change and evolve,” Gorneleh said.

Concerning issue 29, which cut the salaries of the mayor and the city council by almost half, he doesn’t care one way or the other. Gorneleh said that he doesn’t come from an affluent background, so money is not an issue. Plus, he stated that most mayoral candidates do have side jobs  or careers that supplement their lives.

Each candidate in the 2017 Kettering mayoral election has their own edge in the competition. Gorneleh thinks of Patterson as a tough opponent. Although they haven’t met, he imagines that they would differ greatly in terms of politics. He thinks this difference in political views stems from the age gap between himself and Patterson.

“I would like to play a game of chess with him,” Gorneleh said. “He’d be an interesting opponent.”

Scott Byer, Fairmont U.S. Government teacher said that this was going to be an interesting election.

“It is very interesting that such a young guy is running against the incumbent Mayor Patterson,” Byer said.

Laura Hutchens, Fairmont Interactive Media teacher, had Gorneleh as a student during his time here. She said that he was in her Intro to Radio Television at the time. He shot videos for Good Morning Fairmont and completed other media class assignments.

“He was very smart, sarcastic and witty,” Hutchens said. “He definitely understood the power of interactive media.”

Hutchens had never imagined him running for mayor, although she isn’t surprised now that it is happening. She had always imagined he’d be in more of a public space such as the Performing Arts or something entertainment based.

“He was a performer that liked to be in front of the camera,” Hutchens said.

Hutchens loves that he is throwing his hat into the ring and doing something active. She thinks that one of his strengths is in his ability to see things from different points of views.

“He has a different voice compared to the voices that we’re so used to hearing in politics,” Hutchens said.

She believes that he will take care of all the “unaddressed people and issues” in the City of Kettering if he wins the election next week.

Gorneleh left a positive effect on her. She said that he helped her in her experience and comfort level with students over time by the situations he presented her with. She encountered things that weren’t in her teacher book with him as her student.

“Nuponu offered a learning experience that often changed my approach many times,” Hutchens said.

Gorneleh is excited for this election and hopes to win. If this does not happen, he hopes that some of his goals and campaign promises are fulfilled through other means.

“I think I have an actual shot at being mayor, I’ve got a lot of support,” Gorneleh said.