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Dennis Kucinich Joins Race For Cleveland Mayor

Dennis Kucinich is seeking a second chance to lead Cleveland, launching his mayoral campaign Monday in Tremont.
Nick Castele
Dennis Kucinich is seeking a second chance to lead Cleveland, launching his mayoral campaign Monday in Tremont.

Updated: 6:56 p.m., Monday, June 14, 2021

Dennis Kucinich is taking a shot at another political comeback.

Standing in Tremont before a sweeping vista of the Cleveland skyline Monday, the former congressman and presidential candidate launched a bid Monday to return to the mayor’s office — more than four decades after his two-year term as the city’s youngest chief executive.

“I am ready from Day One to take the city in a new, upbeat, can-do direction,” Kucinich said. “And I’m ready to work with you, the people of Cleveland, to achieve this.”

Kucinich said many in the city have become “enveloped by an attitude of hopelessness” in the face of homicides and other violent crime. He pledged to hire 400 police officers, strengthen the homicide investigation unit and bring on 100 “safety assistants” to respond to nonviolent disturbances.

“All the people of Cleveland have a right to expect safe neighborhoods free of the scourge of crime,” he said, “supported by a police department that is ever mindful of the limitations on the use of force.”

The former mayor devoted much of his opening remarks to public safety, deflecting questions about other issues by saying he would roll out more of his platform in the coming days. Kucinich promised a “Civic Peace Department” to promote violence prevention programs and a “peace curriculum” in the schools.

Kucinich also published a book this year, recounting his fight against the privatization of Muni Light, the city-owned electric utility now known as Cleveland Public Power.

Kucinich, a former Cleveland City Council member, fended off a mayoral recall in 1978. But he lost the 1979 reelection race to George Voinovich, returning to city council in 1983.

In 1996, he won election to Congress, where he served until redistricting forced him into a losing 2012 primary contest with fellow Democrat Rep. Marcy Kaptur. In 2018, Kucinich lost the Democratic gubernatorial primary to Richard Cordray.

Kucinich joins a large field of mayoral candidates that includes state Sen. Sandra Williams,City Council President Kevin Kelley, Ward 7 Councilman Basheer Jones, former Councilman Zack Reed and Justin Bibb.

More than a dozen people have pulled petitions from the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections to join the race. The deadline to file is Wednesday.

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