Editor's note: Republican Roy Scott DePew and Democrat William Sherer II are facing off in a race for Canton mayor in this year's general election. The Canton Repository asked the candidates to complete a questionnaire. DePew was unopposed in the Republican primary earlier this year, while Sherer won a five-way Democratic primary earlier this year. You can read Sherer's Q&A by clicking here.
Roy Scott DePew
Current occupation: Notary signing agent, logistics transportation specialist
What neighborhood do you live in: Harter Heights Ward 3
Family: Breanna DePew (spouse for 17 years) and daughters Brittannie Depew, 33, and Kayla DePew, 29, and dog Buster.
Education: Graduated from Canton City Schools. Completed licensing for Life, Health, Fixed Annuities, Property, Casualty, Ohio Notary Public.
Political party: Republican
Political experience: None.
Community involvement: I was a board member for the Harter Heights Neighborhood Association. I started the food drive for the neighborhood that is still being collected every year. Completed neighborhood leadership training through the Stark Community Foundation in 2012.
Why are you running for mayor?
Born right here in Canton, My wife and I are lifelong citizens. I am running for mayor because we need change in our city.
Sixteen years under the same leadership has brought us to being the top in the state of Ohio and in the top 1% in the nation in crime and shootings. Our roads are in such bad shape. I feel that we are getting our taxes and city services fees increased continuously, but not seeing results in several areas. We need to put focus on all areas of our community.
What relevant experience qualifies you for the position? Please list three strengths, along with three weaknesses that you will have to overcome.
My experience has taught me the highs and lows of economy and how to make the best use of the revenue we have. Also how to strategically plan for future growth while our current income is still there. Time always changes the revenue stream and we have to be diligent about growing our revenue with new business while maintaining our current businesses and without over taxing the citizens.
STRENGTHS: No. 1. I am a God-fearing man! Every decision I make, I maintain ethics. Transparency, Honesty, and communication is the most efficient way to show trustworthiness. All of these starts with ethics.
No. 2. I am efficient at problem solving. While maintaining a direction of growth, you always have to be prepared for the unexpected. I do not consume alcohol, therefore I will be able to lead with a clear head at all times.
No. 3. Sales and marketing skills are strengths. We have to be able market the good things about our city to draw in new businesses.
WEAKNESSES: I have to say as some of my colleagues know that my weakness is typing skills. I am still a two-finger typing person. I have taken several typing courses but still use the two fingers.
Is the city headed in the right direction or wrong direction? Please explain your answer.
The city has grown in areas such as the Hall of Fame Village and Amazon. We need to focus more attention on the neighborhoods.
This question depends on which citizens you are directing this question to.
We need to have an open ear to all the concerns of the citizens of our city. There are a lot of residents that are homeless, have addictions, mental disorders, our crime is high, and our unemployment rate is way too high. Focusing attention on ways to improve these areas is imperative.
What would be your top three priorities in your first year in office?
Maximizing our safety forces, improving our infrastructure, and community development!
The city has focused its attention on downtown, including Centennial Plaza, and the Hall of Fame Village in recent years. What are your plans, if any, to improve city neighborhoods?
Neighborhood revitalization is important. Curb appeal motivates residents to participate in beautification of their homes.
Rental owners and homeowners need to be held responsible for upkeep of their buildings and properties and keep up with adequate living quarters for their residents.
What is your crime prevention plan?
More community policing. Reinstating bicycle officers. Rebuilding the trust between the community and the police is a huge beginning to lowering the crime. Give our safety forces the resources to interact with the public.
We have to hold law breakers accountable for breaking laws and we need strength within our court system to uphold these laws. Community involvement and interaction with each other will also be a huge help in lowering crime.
The Stark County NAACP has released numerous recommendations related to police reform following the fatal shooting of James Williams by a city police officer last year. Is police reform needed in Canton? If so, please offer some specific changes that you would advocate for.
Some police reform is needed. We have really good officers within the police department. We also have some officers that are really stressed and need to have time off to reset themselves to remain professional at all times. Some of our community also need to restructure some behaviors.
The Stark NAACP put out a list of police reform they would like to see. I am looking forward to working with them to go over this list and work together to have better policing in our community. Remember ruling with fear is not the way of growth!
The city has provided millions of dollars to support the Hall of Fame Village development. Where do you stand on providing funding and/or financial incentives for this project?
I support the project as long as it brings tangible returns to our citizens, does not strain the city's financial health, and promotes tourism and small business growth inside the city.
How do you intend to encourage and grow economic development?
Reduce beauracratic red tape. Offer tax incentives for new businesses. Work with City Council to come up with tax incentives for the current businesses within the city for building repair and upkeep. Bring retail business to the downtown area. Family-oriented events will play an important role in growing our economy!
How important is the arts community to the future of Canton and what can the city do to support the arts?
Arts are vital for cultural growth. The city should encourage art events and provide platforms for local artists. Family friendly art events engage children as well as give them safe outlets and promote growth and development.
The city owns the Canton Memorial Civic Center, which opened in 1951. What do you see as the future for this facility, and should the city invest in upgrading the venue or building a new one?
The city should perform a comprehensive evaluation on the condition of the building. A new facility would mean raising people's taxes. Finding an investor to upgrade or rebuild the Civic Center would be an ideal way to get a new facility without increasing taxes on our citizens. Canton citizens are tired of continuously rising taxes.
The perception is that talented, bright young people are leaving Canton. Do you have a plan to attract and keep bright young people in Canton?
If we are going to keep young people in the city we must provide a safer city. We need to increase owner-occupied homes by providing adequate jobs, revitalizing neighborhoods, and creating a strong educational system. We need to have God's blessings over this city and help us grow and become a strong united community.
This article originally appeared on The Repository: Q&A with Canton mayoral candidate Roy Scott DePew