Mayor Frank Jackson officially launched his re-election campaign Saturday afternoon when he threw open the doors to his new campaign headquarters at the corner of East 36th and Carnegie. The political star power in that room should give pause to any potential opponents.
The program was hosted by Arnold Pinkney, one of the old lions of the black political community. At least 15 of Cleveland's 20 city council members were present — Terrell Pruitt, Nates Wilkes, Zack Reed, Kenneth Johnson, Phyllis Cleveland, Mamie Mitchell, Sabra Pierce Scott, Kevin Conwell, Roosevelt Coats, Joe Cimperman, Joe Santiago, Kevin Kelley, Jay Westbrook, Dona Brady and Martin Keane. (Council President Martin Sweeney conveyed his regrets.) County prosecutor Bill Mason, recorder Lillian Greene and treasurer Jim Rokakis were there. Congresswoman Marcia Fudge made a cameo appearance on stage, and five state legislators were also in attendance: state representatives Sandra Williams, Mike Foley and Eugene Miller, and senators Shirley Smith and Nina Turner. The latter made a barnburner of a speech, soliciting crowd participation as she repeatedly declared Jackson “the right man at the right time right now!!!”
Jackson himself was more loquacious than usual, speaking for a good 10 minutes as he outlined the positives (balanced budget, no city layoffs or cuts in services, lower crime) and how much more needs to be done (developing a regional economic agenda to better compete globally). Taking a rhetorical tip from Turner, he too had a repeated tagline, saying that as long as people in the city are hungry or homeless or lack access to health care, “We have not done enough.” — Anastasia Pantsios