Photo by Peter Larson
Less than a week after the announcement of city councilman Jeff Johnson's Mayoral candidacy, the local Service Employees International Union has endorsed him.
“Councilman Johnson has demonstrated a real commitment to the people of Cleveland, standing up to corporate and political opponents to lift up the voices of people throughout the city,” said Becky Williams, President of SEIU District 1199, in a news release Monday
. “The failed leadership of Frank Jackson has left too many people without good jobs, safe neighborhoods and struggling to survive in the most impoverished city in the nation [sic].”
SEIU, which helped campaign alongside Raise Up Cleveland for a city minimum-wage increase last year, was appreciative of Johnson's support on that issue. Johnson was the only city council member to support the $15 minimum wage and has been critical of Council President Kevin Kelley for "going down to Columbus" to enlist the aid of the Republic state legislature in quashing the local effort.
“Jeff Johnson’s vision for Cleveland will mean less working people having to struggle to provide for their families and will solve the challenges that face our community head on," Williams said.
Johnson's vision, he's said himself, focuses on investing in Cleveland's neighborhoods. That means reducing violence, improving housing, and investing in education and workforce programs. He said he's seen firsthand the "gradual deterioration" of the idea that elected official represent the people. And he wants to bring that culture back to City Hall.
Johnson is one of six candidates to declare their candidacy for the city's highest executive office. Current Mayor Frank Jackson has yet to make up his mind.
SEIU 1199 represents Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia, but its membership is largely Ohio-based. Of its nearly 30,000 members
, all but about 7,000 are employed in Ohio.