Ex-Buckeye Dimitrious Stanley Running for City Council
Former Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Dimitrious Stanley did not always expect to run for public office, but the athlete, radio personality and businessman now seeks a spot on the Columbus City Council. Stanley, endorsed by the Franklin County Republican Party, said he does not intend to become a politician, but instead wants to use a seat on the Council as a means of giving back to the community.
“Fans at Ohio State… they’ve given me pretty much the life I have and they’ve put me in the position to be able to give back,” said Stanley. “So now I think it’s my turn to give back to the community what the community’s given to me.”
While he doesn’t want a career in politics, nor does he have experience in public office, Stanley said at the very least, as a councilmember, he wants to provide the people of Columbus with important information.
“What I can do for them is give them the right information, give them the right opportunity and the tools,” said Stanley. “But people are going to have to help me and so here’s my chance to help them by making sure that they’ve got the right information.”
Stanley said one of the major challenges he sees facing Columbus is how divided citizens are and how skeptical they can be of one another. Stanley said he hopes he can re-establish trust and communication among residents.
“I want people to get back to the days where we used to talk to each other, where neighbors would sit on the porch and communicate because I think that the large part of our issue in our community now is no one talks to each other, no one communicates person to person and I would like to bring that piece of America back,” said Stanley.
“So that’s one of my goals,” he continued. “I want to be the person that sits right in the middle and connects all the different sides of town, connect all the different groups of people, so we’re communicating and understanding because that’s what I’ve tried to do in my other part of my life, and I know the more we communicate in person, the better it will be for everybody, the more progress we will make, the more understanding. We won’t be afraid of different groups of people, we won’t be afraid of each other, we won’t be afraid to talk to our neighbor, and then that’s when you’re able to accomplish so much.”
One area where Stanley believes the city needs to have better communication is in the relationship between the police and the citizens. Stanley told a story about visiting the Columbus Police Academy on Hague Avenue, where he helped out with CPD’s fitness program. While there, he spoke to a few officers regarding community-police relations.
“One of the things they said to me was, ‘Dimitrious, the community’s just not educated,’” said Stanley. “And I didn’t know exactly what that meant, and I thought he was talking about school and that type of education, but what he was talking about was they’re not educated on how cops work or how they’re trained.”
Stanley said members of the public don’t always understand what does and doesn’t look like a threat to a police officer, nor does the public fully understand how police officers are trained to handle perceived threats.
“We have to get to a point where we understand how cops are trained,” said Stanley. “One thing I know about training…through my football days, when you get in a moment and you’ve worked week after week after week and trained on something, it doesn’t matter what is going on, when you see a situation you’re going to go to your training and you’re going to stop thinking and you’re going to react.”
Stanley said a wider and deeper understanding of the psychology behind police encounters is necessary, and that simple reproaches like “listen to the cops” or “when he says put your hands up, put your hands up” are not useful enough. Likewise, Stanley said police officers must understand how to show citizens, and particularly young black men, more respect.
“Cops need to understand, when they go into a community… that it’s all about respect,” said Stanley. “It’s all about, respect me like a person, respect me like I’m a human being, treat me the way you would treat another white guy or whatever the case may be.”
On his website, Stanley advocates for making Columbus “an incubator for high tech businesses.” While Stanley said his primary focus is on helping working-class people find skilled trade jobs, he still wants Columbus to attract more technology companies for the high-paying employment they can bring.
“I’m not a techie person myself, but I understand what that can do for your economy,” said Stanley. “Could you imagine if we had like a Google corporate company right here, Downtown? That’d be pretty cool in my opinion. And then it would bring higher income, it’ll bring those jobs that maybe bring people from other parts of the country to Columbus that have great ideas.”
One of Stanley’s top concerns is how to develop a workforce out of students who don’t intend to seek college degrees. He said that students should have the option of learning a skill or trade at an earlier age in order to engage them in learning and also prepare them for future employment.
“In Columbus… you have a lot of these skilled trade jobs that are going unfilled because the people aren’t trained,” said Stanley. “So what we have to do is make schools a microcosm of what we exist in. We exist in a world where the majority of us are going to work all our lives, so make the school that. So you not only go to school for math, reading and science but you also go to school to learn a trade. To have a skill, to do something extra.”
Stanley said that teaching students workforce skills could provide them with opportunities to discover what they like and don’t like and what path they want to pursue, as well as making sure they have life skills to work if they decide not to go to college. He also said having a marketable skill is helpful at a time when college degrees aren’t providing the jobs they used to provide.
“When I went to school and you came out, you were pretty much guaranteed a pretty good situation,” said Stanley. “Now kids, a lot of college kids are sitting at home with no jobs.”
As a businessman himself, Stanley said there are a number of things Columbus can do to make itself more attractive to businesses. Stanley’s suggestions include brining down the income tax rate and building more private sector employment.
“I think we have to start focusing more on the private sector and little bit less on the governmental jobs and kind of balance that,” said Stanley. “You need both.”
Stanley said that by refocusing attention on private sector growth, Columbus can bring more money into the city. By balancing out private sector jobs with government jobs, said Stanley, “we may be able to scale back on the income tax and then make it more presentable to a company to come here. And then also we have to work on our job training programs because if they do come here, we don’t have the people, that’s just as bad.”
Overall, education is what ties most of Stanley’s issues together, though he admits it will probably not be where he will devote most of his attention if elected.
“Education’s…not going to be in my wheelhouse on City Council, more business is, but you have to tie the two together. It’s essential. You cannot do jobs and education separately because your education early in life is going to determine what your job is, so it has to go hand in hand,” said Stanley.
“Education,” said Stanley, “is the start to everything you do.”
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