CLEVELAND — Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson said, "It's just time" when asked why he decided against seeking a fifth term as the city's mayor during an wide-ranging interview with News 5 over a Webex video conference Friday afternoon.
Why he's not running
Jackson said there are no specific reasons why he decided not to run for a fifth term.
"It wasn’t my intent to be mayor. I didn’t have that ambition. But the circumstances was that I became mayor," he said. "I didn’t need the job, but I wanted to use the job as a tool to address the things that I believe were not being or were not going to be addressed by the people who were running for mayor at that time.
"It feels like I didn’t intend to run for it, but I did," he said. "Now I intend not to run for it."
What he's most proud of
Despite steering the city through the foreclosure crisis, revitalizing downtown and bringing big events to Cleveland, including the 2016 Republican National Convention, Jackson also said he does not have a specific accomplishment he's most proud of during his 16 years in office. Yet.
"I just can’t pick one at this time because then I’m reminiscing and it’s like an obituary, reminiscing," he said. "I’m in the mode, even though I made this announcement, we have a lot of work to do between now and the end of the year."
"Ask me in January of 2022," Jackson said.
What he's disappointed about
Jackson said he remains "haunted" by the funerals he's attended for children killed by gun violence.
While he said the poverty, drugs and violence that continue to plague Cleveland are the result of systemic issues, including institutionalized racism, he said he hoped to make a more significant impact during his time in office.
"We have a long ways to go and I was not as successful there," he said. "I’ve always felt and continue to feel that more could have been done by me."
"I call it a relay, not a sprint," Jackson said. "Those kind of things you hand off. I picked it up when I got the job and I'm handing it off now."
In 2020, U.S. Census data showed Cleveland is the poorest big city in the nation.
Who should be his successor
Jackson made the announcement he will not seek a fifth term during a tele-townhall Thursday afternoon.
He declined to endorse any candidate as his successor.
"I have no favorites in this race," he said.
However, he did offer his successor advice.
"Be honest with the people," he said. "Whether it’s something they want to hear or not. And to be prepared to deal with unexpected challenges and crises that will occur."