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Dayton Daily News "Filmmaker to challenge Turner for seat"

Filmmaker Baxter Stapleton plans to challenge U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, for his seat in Congress next year.


Stapleton, 32, announced his candidacy Wednesday afternoon at Centerville High School, his alma mater. He said he offers 10th Congressional District voters accountability, transparency, and bipartisanship.


“I want people to expect the opposite of what they’re seeing right now, being active in the district, listening to the citizens,” he said in an interview Wednesday. “Our current member of Congress doesn’t have any public comment meetings, which I think is very telling.”


The 10th Congressional District represents all of Montgomery and Greene counties and part of Fayette County.


Turner declined to comment on Stapleton’s announcement.


Stapleton intends to run as a Democrat.


He said he wants to address elected officials feeding into the lobbying industry.


“My agenda is set around accountability.


People are frustrated on both sides. There’s a revolving door around members of congress becoming lobbyists,” he said.


Stapleton, a filmmaker, attended Cedarville University majoring in political science, where he studied under now-Gov. Mike DeWine before DeWine returned to elected office. He then transferred to Wright State University where he studied urban affairs and nonprofit management.


After graduation, he spent several years in Los Angeles working with major music artists and philanthropic organizations.


He has had filmmaking clients at both Apple and Disney, and has won Webby and MTV Music Awards. For his 30th birthday, he showed one of his films at The Neon movie theater in downtown Dayton.


“Working as a director, it’s like working as an entrepreneur.


It’s hiring a whole team of people to see a vision through. In order to pass a vision you to need to collaborate, you need a team to make this vision successful.


It’s the same way with passing a bill,” he said.


Stapleton also helped start a youth advisory council at the Dayton Foundation, which he says “helped young people have a voice at the table.”


“My greater purpose is to come back home,” he said.


“The pandemic reset my priorities.


There’s a greater need right now. There’s need, but people also want to see a compelling vision, which is lacking with our current member of Congress.”


Stapleton also argues that when it comes to military and defense spending, a major part of Turner’s platform, the incumbent is out of touch, focusing on contractors keeping their jobs instead of looking to further military research.


“Last year, the chief of staff of the Air Force released a statement saying they’re not prepared for the future,” he said. “That’s really concerning, particularly since our representative is on the national defense committee. Keeping jobs at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is critical, but if we don’t transition to programs that are going to set us up for success in the future, we’re going to be left behind.”


Turner has served in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2003, after serving two terms as mayor of Dayton in the 1990s. He was defeated by Rhine McLin in his third bid for mayor in 2001. Turner defeated Democratic candidate Desiree Tims in 2020 with 58% of the vote.


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