Kershner: Dayton Matters In U.S. Senate race. It matters a lot

View Article as Featured in Dayton Daily News


The leaves are starting to change, Oktoberfest was this weekend and businesses are finalizing budgets for 2023. But nothing says it’s fall in Ohio more than big money campaign ad buys, candidate messaging, political fundraisers and national political media coverage of Ohio.

The Nov. 8 election is a little more than a month away and in true Ohio fashion, we are the
“heart of it all.”

One of the most visible political contests this fall, which is also positioned to have the most significant impact on the Dayton area business community, is the U.S. Senate race.

Senators Portman and Brown have been partners in advancing many initiatives that are important to our region. Whichever candidate wins this critical U.S. Senate seat to replace Senator Portman this fall, will be in a position to have significant impact on the Dayton region’s economy.

On Nov. 8, businessman and author J.D. Vance from Cincinnati is matched up against U.S. Congressman Tim Ryan from Niles, Ohio.

Both are solidifying their voting bases and vying for independent electors to swing their way. However, the results of the election can impact the Dayton region more than any other part of the State of Ohio. The Dayton region is home to the most significant federal installations in  Ohio, like Wright-Patterson Air Force Base with $14 billion economic impact and 32,000 employees, the Dayton VA Medical Center with 2,300 employees and a $906 million annual economic impact, the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park and the National VA Archives.

Additionally, the Dayton area business community had been aligned on advancing federal policy beneficial to the Dayton region, including advocating for federal highway trust fund solvency, increased federal infrastructure investments, broadband investments, Federal Aviation Administration policies and support for our local airline industry. The region’s logistics and distribution network has a $2.5 billion economic impact and supports 60% of the nation’s population in one day’s interstate drive from the “Crossroads of America,” the I70/I/75 interchange.

The Dayton region has the largest contingent of attendees for our annual Washington, D.C. Fly-in, more than any other community in Ohio. Our region’s business leaders are risk-taking executives, creative young professionals, local minority business owners, innovative entrepreneurs and executive women that are putting a new face on leadership. Diverse perspectives and engagement in federal advocacy and policy are central to who we are as a business community.

It has been 13 years since Ohio had a U.S. Senate race that didn’t have an incumbent candidate seeking re-election. As Mr. Vance and Congressman Ryan are traveling the State of Ohio and visiting the Dayton region, our business leadership has a consistent message: Dayton matters, it matters a lot.

Chris Kershner, CAE
President & CEO
Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce

Download a PDF  of this article as it appeared in the Dayton Daily News.