Only two candidates are vying for the position of Union mayor in the 2022 general election: incumbent Larry Solomon and current City Commissioner Eric Dulaney.
This would be Solomon’s third and possibly last term as mayor. He was first elected in 2014 and hopes to see millions of development dollars completed. Over the past year, he and the City Commission have approved plans and/or opened multimillion-dollar mixed-use developments, such as the Grammas Center, Union Promenade, which will include a location for the Children’s Hospital of Cincinnati and the Union Town Center. .
At city board meetings and events, Solomon has spoken about his retirement plans. However, he has not announced when he officially plans to retire. His campaign page encourages voters to select him for “one more term”.
He describes himself as a “conservative businessman”. He believes in running the city like a business “with responsible management and solid long-term planning.” He also holds a master’s degree in business administration and public administration.
Before running for office, he was president of the Hampshire Home Owners Association. He also “has worked 30 years in marketing research at Ashland/Valvoline, Procter & Gamble and Kimberly Clark, as well as seven years for Ohio State. A strong mix of business and public sector services,” according to its campaign page.
Union has grown significantly over the past decade and is on track to have more than 10,000 “within the next four years or so,” Solomon reported. The growth of the projects and the population is the reason why Salomon wants to see another term, to carry out the projects.
“I had planned to do only one or two terms. However, the city is about [of] to truly become the greatest city that we have laid the foundation for in the past eight years…I would like one more term to complete the work that this administration began under my leadership eight years ago,” Solomon said.
Meanwhile, challenger Commissioner Dulaney is a newcomer to Union who has served on the commission almost as long as he has lived in the city.
A Union resident since 2014 and Commissioner since 2016, Dulaney was born and raised in Fort Mitchell. There, he served on the Public Safety Committee from 2010 to 2012, then on the Code Enforcement Board from 2012 to 2014. While a member of the Union City Commission, Dulaney was involved in efforts to combat the opioid and heroin epidemic.
He is a member of Seven Hills Church and holds a master’s degree in organizational psychology from Western Kentucky University. He currently works as a shipper/shipper for TMK Ipsco at Wilder, a steel pipe manufacturer. He is also a member of Local 1870 of the United Steel Workers Union.
Dulaney thinks the city’s growth is a good thing, but he fears it’s happening too quickly.
“The growth has been too fast. The community needs to pause, catch its breath, and absorb the development that we currently have going on,” Dulaney said. “Economic and residential growth certainly can’t be stopped, but we have to take our time and make sure we grow the way the community expects us to grow.
He focused on the Union Town Center, where the city hopes to create a new municipal building, community center and citywide gathering place. Downtown will essentially establish a town center for Union, when it’s complete. The city is in talks with MKSK, a consulting firm, and Dulaney said this property and other properties targeted for future growth need to be developed carefully.
“There are more areas that can and will be developed in the future, for example the Collett property at the mouth of Mt. Zion Road and US 42. The city still has plenty of room for development and we need to ensure it is developed properly to serve Union residents,” he said.
He said he feels the city needs to take its time in planning and developing these areas, “which includes making sure we get and listen to community feedback. I don’t think it would be beneficial to rush the process and rush to develop the remaining areas.
The Union will decide whether it is ready for a leadership change on election day, November 8.