MANSFIELD -- Mansfield City Council candidate Alomar Davenport said Wednesday he understands the needs of Mansfield's 4th Ward.
"I am fully aware of the needs of the 4th Ward because I am the 4th Ward. The 4th Ward made me who I am. The 4th Ward created the person that stands before you. I am fully immersed in what's going on there," Davenport said.
Davenport, 42, of 575 Stocking Ave., spoke during the weekly Richland County Democratic Party luncheon. This is his first run for elected office.
Davenport is opposed by two write-in candidates for the seat, currently held by Walden "Butch" Jefferson, whom Davenport defeated in the April primary. The Republican in the race made the decision to drop out after the primary.
Brenda Collins-Vaughn, 44, of 469 Howard St., and Gerald Strouth, 64, of 516 Bryden Road, both are running as write-ins in the 4th Ward, largely representing the city's north side, Both entered the race in August.
Davenport, who said he welcomed the opposition in the general election to ensure ward residents have a chance to make their voices heard, said he will do what's necessary for the people he would represent.
"I am going to do what's necessary, regardless of what it means to me personally, regardless to what it means to anyone other than the people I am trying to help," he said.
"If this was a job interview, hands down, I am the clear candidate who can move forward. Not because I care more ... the issue is it's time for us to have a councilman who is prepared for the job, who can step in day one and sit with a finance director and fully understand what she is saying ... who can sit with our law director and fully understand what is being said," Davenport said.
Davenport said during the primary campaign he grew up in the 4th Ward and moved to New York City, earning college degrees in business administration and public affairs.
He has said he worked for the Brennan Center for Justice, the Vera Institute of Justice and the Center for Alternative Sentencing and Employment Services.
Davenport said he worked as a policy analyst on right-to-vote initiatives and criminal justice reform measures. He returned to Mansfield in the summer of 2018 and now works for T-Mobile as a sales analyst.
Davenport said his two priorities for the 4th Ward remain unchanged from the primary campaign.
"I want us to reclaim a collective voice, to begin to move as one and really use our voice to regain political power and political clout and that's through voting," he said.
"I want to bring out as many people as possible, regardless whether they are voting for me or the opposition ... making their voice heard. The squeaky wheel is the one that gets the oil.
"In the 4th Ward, part of why we have been overlooked is because we don't come out and vote," he said.
He said his second priority remains in helping change the "narrative" of the 4th Ward.
"I have seen real 'hoods.' I have seen real crime-ridden areas and Mansfield's 4th Ward is not among them. We need to begin to tell our own narrative. I believe the 4th Ward has a bad rap. It has a negative connotation to it. I believe it's one that has been passed down from one generation to the next," Davenport said.