CLEVELAND — Former Cleveland Mayor Dennis Kucinich is considering running for office again after filing paperwork to begin raising funds for a campaign.
When Kucinich held office in Cleveland from 1977 to 1979, he was sometimes referred to as the “boy mayor of Cleveland” because he was the youngest mayor of a major city, in his early 30s.
Now, at 74-year-old, Kucinich said he’s older and more mature.
“I have shown an ability and willingness to stand up for people putting my career on the line. I am the same person, but am I older, wiser and more mature? Of course. I mean, I think everyone is as we go along,” Kucinich said.
While Kucinich filed the paperwork that would allow him to set up a committee to be able to raise funds, he has not announced his candidacy for a 2021 run just yet.
"The decision to run is not mine alone. It has to come from the people of the community. And it has to reflect that. I hear from them that because I want to check the pulse of the community. And that's that's part of the process right now,” Kucinich said.
Some of the issues Kucinich said he’s concerned about are the rising homicide rate in the city and residents dealing with high rates of utility shutoffs.
“Feeling the pulse of the community and in the process of that, people have expressed concern to me about public safety, about the rising homicide rate. About the fact that we don't have enough people in the homicide unit, in the scientific investigation units and special units to be able to find out what the heck's going on with this rising crime. That is something that I've written about,” Kucinich said. “I've also written about the fact that the cities announced they're going to shut off people's lights and water during a pandemic. I mean, come on, you know, people don't have money. To have money they pay their bills, so they don't have money. What are you going to do, turn the heat off in the winter? So these are the kinds of people-oriented things that have always stood for.”
Kucinich said that while he doesn’t have a formal campaign because he’s not a candidate yet, he continues to listen to what the community needs.
“I haven't laid out a campaign because I'm not a candidate yet. But am I thinking am I listening to people? Yes. And will I continue to go out there and get the pulse of the community? You bet I will,” he said.
Cleveland’s current mayor, Frank Jackson, was asked on Thursday if he intended to run for mayor in 2021 and he said he’s simply focused on doing his job now and wouldn’t say one way or the other.
“I'm just doing my job,” Jackson said. “If I said I was running the political target would be so large that I couldn't get anything done by dealing with the B.S. and the drama of it. And if I said I wasn't running then I couldn't even get a phone call returned.”
Jackson said that for now, he’ll continue to be the mayor and will make a decision next year whether or not he will run again.