Logan Fahey, the 23-year-old former General Manager of Bloom Bakery, has pulled petitions at the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, indicating his intention to run for Cleveland City Council's Ward 3.
That ward, which includes downtown, Tremont, Ohio City and portions of the Clark-Fulton and Stockyards neighborhoods, is currently represented by Kerry McCormack, who was appointed by Joe Cimperman last year. Cimperman became the Executive Director of Global Cleveland and McCormack, formerly of Ohio City Inc., became the youngest member of City Council.
Fahey is five years McCormack's junior. He's been at Bloom, a social enterprise venture of the non-profit Towards Employment, since 2014. He announced his departure from Bloom in a Facebook post last week.
"As Bloom continues to grow both as a business and a catalyst for social change," wrote Fahey, "I recognize that it is time to transfer operational oversight to a new leadership team that will be focused on long-term sustainability. I was brought on to launch Bloom and oversee its initial stages as a start-up in the field of social enterprise; now that both of these goals have been accomplished, an exciting new chapter lies ahead."
Exciting indeed. Fahey, in an interview Thursday with Scene, said he's still finishing up with Bloom, but that he's always been inclined toward politics — he considered running for the Strongsville school board — and right now seemed like the ideal moment to launch a political career and "make an impact" in Cleveland.
Fahey moved from Strongsville to downtown's theater district two years ago to be closer to Bloom operations near CSU
. He grew up in the Old Brooklyn neighborhood and attended St. Edward High School in Lakewood.
While he has no political experience, he said that he has run five small businesses, launching two of them, and that small business development is his passion.
"A big portion of why I'm running is to advocate and advance small businesses across Ward 3," he said, "but also to continue to advocate for people who live in the city."
Fahey said he had "enormous respect" for Kerry McCormack and had "nothing bad" to say about him, but that it's difficult to assess the performance of any councilman after only one year in office.
"There is a lot of opportunity for this ward," Fahey said, more broadly. "We're growing. We have a ton of momentum, and having someone in office who has built a small business in that ward who has hired all individuals who are residents of the city of Cleveland and who understands that this ward is extremely diverse — there's opportunity to continue to advance the momentum, but to recognize that there are still lots of problems. There needs to be a much heavier push on economic development and job creation."
Like McCormack, Fahey supports the Quicken Loans Arena renovation deal, saying that he's been a supporter from the start.
"Investing in the area for an arena that has supported our economy for a long time is money well spent," he said, adding that the Cavaliers' financial contributions toward the project are "great."
Fahey said he looked forward to both advocating for the residents of Ward 3 and to authoring legislation that will affect the whole city. He said for the next few months, he'll be knocking on doors and learning the issues most important to Ward 3's residents. He said his goal is to knock on every door three times. A city council candidate must submit 200 valid signatures with the county board of elections, and Fahey said he intends to "blow that number out of the water."
On a final note, Fahey responded to voters' potential concern about his age. He said that he's been fielding questions about his age and a perceived lack of experience all his life, but that he's been building businesses since he was 16 years old and has worked successfully for three non-profits.
"I don't think age has any bearing," he said. "Kerry's a young guy as well and he has a great track record with Ohio City Inc. I think we have very different experiences, and I think given the amount of small business in Ward 3, having someone who has recently spent time building a business and working with those residents is a priceless piece to what we can accomplish."