CLEVELAND — Former Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich announced his bid for Cleveland mayor on Monday afternoon.
During his announcement speech, Kucinich touched on an issue that he said is on every Clevelander's mind—safety. He called crime the number one issue in the city.
"We all know that our beloved city is being overrun by crime," Kucinich said. "Every neighborhood is at risk, murders, shooting carjackings, street assaults, robberies, and break-ins have increased at an alarming rate. This didn't happen overnight."
He added, "Our city has been enveloped by an attitude of hopelessness, where leaders lament rising crime, but do little or nothing about it. While citizens fear walking the streets, sitting on their porch, going shopping in the city, even stopping at a gas station. Good intentions and good wishes are not a substitute for good public policy and leadership. Cleveland, sadly, has become one of the most dangerous cities in America. Working together we can change that."
He outlined how his administration would make the city safer.
"As mayor, I will hire 400 additional police, build up the homicide unit, the scientific investigation unit, the gang unit," he said.
Additionally, Kucinich said he will hire additional workers with special skills, "to deal with non-violent disturbances and those who suffer from mental illness — because, as we understand — not every 911 call requires an armed response."
Kucinich said his focus during his mayoral announcement is crime, but said he plans on addressing other concerns the city faces, such as the economy and utilities; issues, he said, he would address at a later date.
You can watch his full announcement in the player below:
Cleveland City Council President Kevin J. Kelley, who announced in April that he is also running for mayor, issued the following statement regarding Kucinich's announcement: “This election is about the future. Our City has made great progress in digging out from the dark days of the past. We cannot afford to go back."
Kucinich spoke to News 5's John Kosich in February about his consideration to run once again for Cleveland mayor.
"I live here, I care about what's going on,” Kucinich said. “I see the increase in poverty and crime and I'm concerned, and so I'm absolutely thinking about it."
Kucinich said economic growth is critical not just downtown but in the neighborhoods. That being said, News 5 asked Kucinich if it was possible for someone who has been doing this for 50 years to bring new ideas to a city like Cleveland.
"Well, there are some who said I was 50 years ahead of my time. I'm right on time, and not only that, you think of the wealth of experience that I bring. You know you get on an airplane you want an experienced pilot and if you're going to have surgery you want a surgeon who is going to be trying to think what's the next move,” he said. "There's no one around who has that kind of experience.”
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