Lutz and Oda attend Meet-the-Candidates Night


By Matt Clevenger

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TROY — A large crowd of local residents filled the Troy Junior High School Cafeteria on Thursday, April 13, attending a Meet the Candidate Night featuring Troy Mayoral candidates Mayor Robin Oda and Troy Council President William Lutz.

“I am a proud graduate of Troy High School,” Lutz said, speaking first due to alphabetical order. “I’ve lived in Troy my entire life.”

A graduate of Wright State University, Lutz earned a bachelor’s degree in urban affairs and a master’s degree in public administration, and has worked for the city of Troy and as a township administrator in Bethel Township.

Lutz also worked for the city of Piqua, in community and economic development.

“I was a part of the team that restored the Fort Piqua Plaza to its current beauty,” he said, “and I was also part of a team that tore down the Piqua Memorial Medical Center, which was an absolute mess, to put in a new school.”

Lutz currently works as the executive director of The New Path Inc, and serves as president of the Troy City Council.

“Serving the last three-and-a-half years as your mayor has been a pleasure,” candidate and current Troy Mayor Robin Oda said. “My husband’s job brought us to Troy in late 1996, and we’ve made it our home for the last 26-plus years.”

“We homeschooled our kids through their elementary years, and they all graduated from Troy High School,” she said. “After our last child left for college, I was approached about running for Troy City Council.”

Oda was elected to city council in 2011, and served eight years as an at-large council member until being elected as mayor in 2018. Active at Grace Baptist Church for more than 20 years, Oda is also a charter board member of a local non-profit organization, Reading For Change.

“As mayor, I serve on 20 different boards and committees,” she said, including serving as president of the Greater Dayton-Area Mayors and Managers Association, and on the executive board and board of directors of the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission (MVRPC).

Following introductions, both candidates responded to questions from audience members and a panel of representatives from local media outlets, including Matt Bayman, publisher of, Scott Hornberger, general manager of Troy radio station Power 107.1 and Sheryl Roadcap, editor of Miami Valley Today and the Miami Valley Sunday News.

The Meet the Candidates event was hosted by former Troy Mayor Mike Beamish, and organized by Leadership Troy Alumni.

Lutz and Oda are both republicans, and with no other candidates running for mayor the two will face each other during the upcoming primary election on May 2. The winner could then run unopposed as the republican party’s only official candidate in the November election.

The candidates clashed over several issues, ranging from downtown parking to the idea of setting term limits for board and commission members, and changing staff or administrative personnel at the city.

“We need to do a better job of getting new residents involved in their local government,” Lutz said. “You could serve no more than two consecutive terms on a specific board. If you like the work you’re doing, you at least need to take one year off before you get re-appointed to those boards.”

“A lot of the boards and committees that we have are designed by the Ohio Revised Code (ORC),” Oda said, “and we would not be able to institute term limits on those boards.”

Candidates also responded to an audience question about changing city staff at the administrative level.

“I’m going to give our director of public service and safety specific directions and goals to accomplish within the first six months, and I expect those items to be done,” Lutz said.

“I don’t expect him to be around in 2027,” he said. “The next mayor will make that appointment of who that individual is.”

“We have a wonderful team already in place that is already working together,” Oda said. “I’m quite happy with our team, and applaud the team that we’ve put together and the work that they do.”

Lutz and Oda agreed at least partially on several issues, including a pro-life stance on abortion rights, and the need for a new comprehensive plan for the city of Troy.

“The most important activity our city will undertake over the next four years is developing a new comprehensive plan,” Lutz said. “This has to be done in 2025 and if elected, I am committed to getting citizen participation in every part of that plan.”

“The comprehensive plan is coming up, and it will be an intensive time of work for the entire city staff,” Oda said. “The comprehensive plan is going to take time, and it will take a lot of work, but it will get done.”

“I am against abortion, and I would not allow an abortion center,” Oda said, responding to a question from the audience asking if candidates would allow an abortion center to be built in Troy. “That’s my personal feeling; it would come down to zoning, and city council would have to have a vote in that.”

“I’m the chairman of the Miami County Republican Party Central Committee,” Lutz said. “Just this week, we passed a resolution stating that we are a pro-life organization, and that abortion should basically be the last option and not even be allowed in many instances.”

“It comes down to zoning controls whether such a facility would be allowed in our community,” he said.

The candidates also responded to questions about the need for affordable housing and public transportation in the area.

“We do have transportation issues in our community, especially when it comes to seniors trying to get to doctors’ appointments, pharmacies and grocery stores,” Lutz said. “I don’t know if the government can come in and do anything with that, because running a transit system is highly expensive; you’re talking about a multi-million dollar investment year after year after year.”

“If we work with non-profit partners like Partners In Hope who do their Caregivers Program, we can begin to get the rides to those people who need them the most,” he said.

“My feeling is that the government should not be the answer to that,” Oda said of transportation issues, “but we will continue to work on partnerships, and partnering with businesses to find solutions.”

“Affordable housing is a very hard issue to tackle,” Lutz said. “We’re not just talking about housing units, we’re talking about the specific kind of housing our different demographic parts of our community need.”

“What’s happening is that we’re building single-family lots, which are great for middle-income to high-income families,” he said. “We don’t have enough multi-family housing in our community.”

“People are leaving our community, or not choosing to live here, because the housing products that we have aren’t meeting their needs,” he said.

“Developers are going to build what the market demands, and that is what we see happening in Troy,” Oda said. “We’re not in it to control it. Developers are building the houses that are being demanded, and as people move up to those houses it opens up houses on the lower end of the market.”

Both Lutz and Oda also discussed details of their campaign’s finances. Oda’s campaign raised approximately $7,000, she said, and spent $3,834.01. Lutz’s campaign raised $9,313.39, he said, and spent $7,188.96.

Troy Development Director Tim Davis also appeared at the Meet the Candidates event, explaining the issue of gas aggregation which will appear on ballots for voters in the city of Troy.

“A ‘yes’ vote would allow for the city to use its purchasing power to secure a discount for residences on natural gas,” Davis said. “Residents and small businesses will be enrolled in the program by default, if it is passed on May 2; however, they can opt-out at any point in time, and there is no fee.”

Average households can expect to save approximately $50 to $100 per year on their gas bill under aggregation, Davis said.

“The reason we expect to have these cost savings is because we have had an electric aggregation program since 2011,” he said.

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