Today, I am announcing that I am running for the Democratic nomination for Cuyahoga County Council in District 2, which includes the cities of Brook Park, Lakewood, and Wards 16 and 17 in Cleveland.
I am running in the primaries to unseat an incumbent who has held elective office since 1977. He is a good man. But after the ongoing disgrace at the county jail, the unforgiveable lead crisis, and the payouts to corporations and millionaires with the Q deal and the potential $6 million for the NuCLEus project, to name just a few calamities, I am running to propose new ways of thinking. More than anything else, we must put residents first.
Six years ago I moved back to my hometown of Cleveland after attending graduate school and teaching history at the college level. But even from afar, I followed the happenings in Northeast Ohio. Sadly, I’d hear about the alarming poverty rate (especially amongst children), the continued lack of cooperation among our leaders, persistent segregation, corruption in the county government, and the exodus of people from our beloved hometown. Moving back to Cuyahoga County I knew I wanted to reside in the West Park area, where my parents grew up, and where my grandparents called home. In the years since, I’ve been actively involved in progressive and Democratic causes. I’m currently president of the Ward 16 Democratic Club and one of the organizers for West Park Neighbor Up, a resident-led initiative where we join together to share our neighborhood experiences while seeking ways to improve our community in the process. For the past several years, I’ve worked in the nonprofit housing field, where I see firsthand the critical role housing plays in our county’s economy and in the lives of its residents.
With the long-term goal of creating jobs while growing our economy, educating our residents, and reversing our population decline, here are just a few of the policies I will pursue:
- Greater support for job training and STEM education for people of all backgrounds and ages
- An economic development policy that prioritizes the middle class and workers with the chief goal of creating sustainable, family wage jobs
- A public transportation system that is effective and no longer morally bankrupt. One that connects people with jobs and one that gives voice to those who use public transit.
- Countywide Offices on Transparency and one on Residential Engagement so that all public funds spent by Cuyahoga County are tracked and the needs of our residents are met
- More assistance to homeowners for home repair and maintenance since our homes are crucial to the economic growth and sustainability of our county
- Focus on helping businesses and firms already here instead of chasing unaffordable pipedreams
- A commitment to sustainable land use and environmental policies that will put Cuyahoga County at the forefront of those endeavors.
- A definitive 30 year plan for our county and region economically, socially, and demographically with benchmarks for us to achieve along the way
Simply put, our county government has let us down and to keep electing the same people while expecting different result will not allow us to achieve our potential. I am convinced that for Cuyahoga County to flourish we need new voices now more than ever, and I feel compelled to do all that I can.
Transforming the county will not be done in the 4 years of a county council term, nor will it be done alone. We will need the help of many others, including you. At the very least if you have friends or family residing in Brook Park, Lakewood, or West Park, please take a moment to tell them about a person who has dedicated his life to understanding governance as a student, as a teacher, and today in the nonprofit world.
Every ounce of my mind and spirit will be dedicated to the residents of District 2 and to the long-term growth and sustainability of our region. I’m a proud progressive Democrat, but if a moderate or conservative has a solution that makes sense, you can bet I’ll be listening. The cities of Brook Park, Cleveland, and Lakewood deserve new ideas and policies that focus on our future. Together we can take that step. Together we can rebuild Cuyahoga County.
Along the way, I encourage you to stay in touch with me as we embark on this rebuilding effort. As Franklin Roosevelt said, “It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.” A little over a century ago, our county was considered a national beacon for good government. There’s no reason we can’t do that again. So let’s try something new.
All My Best,