LIMA – Today in a press conference held at the Civic Center, Mayor David Berger announced the names of the 5 Co-Chairs heading the Berger for Mayor Committee’s 2017 mayoral re-election campaign, Rachel Richardson, Kelly Kirk, Eugene Jackson, Maralee Sullivan and Bob Seggerson.
Ms. Richardson was born and raised in Lima. After earning a graduate degree in Workforce Development/Adult Education, Rachel and her husband, Derek, chose to raise their family in Lima. They have four daughters.
Rachel began her professional career at the Lima/Allen County Chamber of Commerce as Program Director and began programs such as Women in Business, Executive Roundtables, and the group for young professionals now titled Lima YP. She served on the Chamber's Minority Business and Education committees, as well as the Center of Strength representative for the Lima City School's Small School Transformation Initiative. She now works at The Ohio State University as the Career Services Manager, working to connect employers and college students to assist with area workforce development initiatives.
Rachel supports Dave because:
“I have watched Mayor Berger better our community by initiating partnerships with organizations and institutions for the continued revitalization of downtown Lima, future workforce development, and overall economic health of our city through collaborative efforts. He diligently advocates on a regional and national level to bring needed funding for investments in human capital and property within our city. Overall, Mayor Berger has demonstrated a lifelong commitment to bettering our city, and has selflessly given his life to service to make Lima a better place to live, work, and raise a family.”
Kelly is a lifelong resident of Lima and Allen County. She spent the first 5 years of her career in banking followed by 5 years with the Allen County Treasurer’s Office and then Auditor’s Office. She then accepted a position with Congressman Michael G. Oxley’s district office, where she worked for 25 years. Throughout her federal service, she traveled and worked with local elected officials in 6 different counties, which is how she came to really know Dave Berger.
She has always been very active in the community serving the following organizations, St. Charles Parish; former Allen County Republican Party central committeewoman; Allen County Republican Women; Lima Jay-c-ettes; Allen Co. Chapter American Red Cross Board of Directors; Lima Rotary Club; American Cancer Society Reach to Recovery Volunteer; and St. Vincent DePaul food bank volunteer. She was also active because of her employment with Mr. Oxley in many other committees not mentioned here. Kelly has three grown children and one grandchild.
Kelly supports Dave because:
“In my 25 years of service to Congressman Mike Oxley, I had numerous opportunities to work with Mayor Dave Berger, including serving with him on a committee to “Save our Tank Plant”. Over the many years the name of the committee changed based upon what the Department of Defense was planning with its Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) plans. Mayor Berger served as the leader and chairman of that committee and though he and Congressman Oxley and myself were on different sides of the political aisle, he understood the importance of working together for the benefit of the Lima community. The most important thing for Dave was to save jobs for Lima and ideally create opportunities to enhance the workforce here in Lima/Allen County. A BRAC was not a onetime occurrence.
The Department of Defense conducted BRAC’s every 5 years, so we worked together on this committee for many years. Just prior to my retirement from public service and during the last BRAC I would participate in, Mayor Berger led the charge for those “tank” jobs to become enhanced. It was no easy task to get more work to the plant from other branches of the military other than the Army. But we did it! The Lima Army Tank Plant became the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center (JSMC) and does so much more now than just army tanks. In fact, this year they will be making a huge investment in the plant and equipment.
Dave did what a good leader should do, he brought everyone together to work for Lima, encouraged the growth of ideas, and kept us all on task. My point – Mayor Dave Berger understands the importance of working together for the betterment of the Lima community regardless of personal or political beliefs!”
Mr. Jackson has lived in Lima all of his adult life and is a retired supervisor for Ford’s Lima Engine Plant. He is an avid golfer and history buff and has delivered Black history presentations to students at Bluffton College, the University of Findlay, The Ohio State Lima, the Allen County Museum, and Lima City Schools.
Jackson and his wife, Alice have been active volunteers with the Allen County Democratic Party for over two decades where they have offered their time with phone banking, canvassing, and voter registration – one year registering over 200 new voters.
EUGENE supports Dave because:
“I first met Dave years ago when I delivered the opening address at Lima’s Juneteenth Celebration. Over the years he has kept an open door policy and we have talked on numerous occasions about community issues and how they might be solved.
During his tenure as Mayor I have watched Dave as he diligently works to make a difference for us. I am always in awe of his calm but assertive demeanor as he gets the job done.
Most importantly, I admire him for his leadership especially during the time when we were losing jobs, Dave did a yeoman’s job to keep the people of Lima working. As a retired Ford Supervisor I appreciate his creation of the Auto Task Force that connected automotive manufacturers all working together in the region to make sure we keep good paying jobs here.
Our community does have some challenges, and not all believe in the greatness and vast opportunities our city has to offer. However, I believe that Mayor Berger recognizes these challenges. I believe that given the opportunity to serve another term that he will work to ensure that this will change for those who are not having that experience.
Let’s be honest, Lima has seen some rough times as have other small midwestern cities. Let’s be equally honest and acknowledge that under Dave’s leadership, we have survived. Unlike Fostoria, we didn’t go bankrupt. Unlike Flint, we didn’t experience a major water crisis.
I know that Dave believes in equity for all. Most importantly, he believes that Lima is only as great as the people who live here, and he wants us all to have access to all that will help us to move Lima forward individually and collectively.
It is imperative that we too believe in ourselves, in our city and most importantly in the attainment of the change we seek.
I urge the Lima community to Think Smart, Vote Experience. Vote forward, and most importantly vote… David Berger for Mayor.”
Ms. Sullivan grew up in the Lima area. After earning a teaching degree she and her husband, Grant decided to move back to Lima. They choose to live in the city because they know it is a great place to work, live, and raise children. Prior to becoming a mom, Maralee taught kindergarten at Temple Christian. She is now a stay-at-home mom to three children (ages 11, 7, and 2). The Sullivan’s school aged children attend Lima City Schools where Maralee and Grant love to volunteer and help out in any way they can. Maralee serves on the Lima City Schools Board of Education.
MARALEE supports Dave because:
“As a member of the Lima City Schools Board of Education, resident of Lima, and (most importantly!) a parent, I am looking for a mayor who is a big supporter of the Lima City Schools. I see Mayor Berger at so many of the events I attend, and we always can count on him for the support our schools deserve. I am a registered Republican, but I have found that I must vote with my conscience. My most important job and what I focus on the most, is being a mother to three young children. Because of them, the future of Lima is very important to me. I want a leader who has a proven track record of retaining and bringing businesses and opportunities to our city. I want a mayor who is positive about the work that has been done and will continue to be done. I want a mayor who truly loves Lima and its people. Mayor Berger is my choice!”
Bob has lived in Lima his entire life. He graduated from Lima Central Catholic High School and went on to earn degrees from St. Joseph’s College and the University of Dayton. He is best known as the very successful basketball coach of the LCC Thunderbirds. He retired after 44 years of teaching, counseling and coaching at Lima Central Catholic. Bob and his wife Janie are parents of 3 children and grandparents to six grandchildren. In retirement, Bob writes a weekly sports column in the Lima News during basketball season and does color commentary on radio for UNOH basketball games. His favorite retirement past time is chasing six young grandkids around until his back is aching and his heart is full.
BOB SEGGERSON supports Dave because:
“I have always been, and remain, a loyal supporter of Dave Berger. I trust his judgment. I have faith in his ability to lead our community through the many challenges that face a city of our size, especially in trying times. I have watched him do this time and time again.
I admire the fact that he is sensitive to the needs of citizens in every corner of our community. But mostly I support Dave for another term as Mayor because he has a proven record of leadership and getting things done that has helped to improve the quality of life for the city of Lima. I’m sticking with a known commodity.”