State Senator Sandra Williams Announces Candidacy for Cleveland Mayor


State Sen. Sandra Williams formally announces her bid for Cleveland Mayor at the Harvard Community Center, (5/3/21). - SAM ALLARD / SCENE
  • Sam Allard / Scene
  • State Sen. Sandra Williams formally announces her bid for Cleveland Mayor at the Harvard Community Center, (5/3/21).

Flanked by Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish and colleagues from the Ohio legislature, State Sen. Sandra Williams announced her candidacy for Mayor of Cleveland Monday morning. Williams is the first serious female candidate in the 2021 race, and she highlighted both the benefits of her identity and her professional experience in prepared remarks.

Williams would be the first African-American woman to hold the office of Mayor in Cleveland. She said that the city could no longer afford to make excuses and that her record of building relationships with leaders across the state would lead to a new and improved Cleveland. 

"Our city needs a woman," she said, "a woman who gets real results, not somebody who's going to come up who never did anything."

Having served for 16 years in the Ohio House of Representatives and the Ohio Senate, Williams said she has experience working with both Republicans and Democrats. She said she is the only candidate in the mayoral race who'd walk into office on day one with the ear of legislators in Columbus.

"No one in this race can compete with my record," she said. (That record includes, unfortunately for Williams, co-sponsorship of HB6.)

In a campaign video, Williams outlined her vision for Cleveland under her administration: one where inequality is extinguished, education is improved and crime is reduced. Monday, she elaborated on some of the policies she'd pursue to lessen inequality, including creating an office for community wealth building and advocating for minority and women-owned businesses to win a larger share of city contracts. In the arena of economic development, she said she'd have no qualms about poaching businesses from neighboring states to bring jobs to Cleveland. 

Local state legislators Juanita Brent, Stephanie Howse, Kenny Yuko and Nickie Antonio all endorsed Williams, celebrating her years of diligent work bringing jobs and resources to constituents in Northeast Ohio.

"I couldn't imagine supporting any other candidate," Juanita Brent said. "She knows how to bring home the bacon, and fry it."

Nickie Antonio called Williams a "field-tested" leader who "knows how government works." 

When asked about the field of current candidates in the mayoral race, Williams touted her lengthy legislative record and her existing relationships with those in power. She also noted — it's impossible not to — that the field is dominated by men. (Stephanie Howse had said earlier that politics in Northeast Ohio is still an old boys club, and it hasn't been effectively serving most residents.) In her campaign video, Williams said that she was running so that "young women and girls across Cleveland could see that their futures are unlimited."

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