Election Day 2017: Cleveland mayoral candidates deliberate over crime, education

Election Day 2017: Cleveland mayoral candidates deliberate over crime, education
Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson. (Source: WOIO)

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - About a week before voters will go to the polls to elect a mayor for the City of Cleveland, both candidates sat down with Cleveland 19 Monday morning.

Incumbent, mayor Frank Jackson, is seeking an unprecedented fourth term as mayor. Ward 2 councilman Zack Reed has spent 16 years on city council, and is seeking to unseat the mayor.

During a mayoral primary, out of a field of nine candidates, Jackson received just under 40 percent of the vote, and Reed garnered about 22 percent, but only about 13 percent of all registered voters in Cleveland voted in the primary.

When asked what his number one concern was if elected to another term, Jackson responded by saying, "different people have different concerns, some people it's education, some it's safety, some it's jobs some it's economic development, city services, it all depends on individuals. So there's no one key issue in regards to this campaign, this is a multiple issue campaign and different constituencies have different concerns about different things," said Jackson.  "At any given moment in time, what seems to be the most insignificant thing becomes the most important, but when I'm asked those kind of questions, and they say you have to give me an answer, I always say education is a key to our success."

Jackson went on to say that's because education is key to solving other problems the city may have.

Reed, continuing a theme in his campaign, emphasized that his number one priority is public safety.

"People in the city of Cleveland, no matter if you live on the west side in (Kamm's) Corners, downtown, far east, they're afraid and they have every right to be afraid. You have an administration that has not put the priority of public safety first and foremost, put the priority of putting a $2.4 million dirt bike track that 94 percent of the city of Cleveland won't use and that's a problem. That's a big problem in the city of Cleveland," said Reed. "The first responsibility of government, whether it's federal, state or local is to protect their people, period. So, of course [Jackson] would deflect to something else because he has failed when it comes to public safety."

Reed has been endorsed by the police union, and has said he would hire 400 more police officers if elected.

"The people voted to increase the income tax from two percent to two and a half percent which gave us an additional $80 million to be able to do something with the services within the city of Cleveland which are lacking, and the safety within the City of Cleveland which [Jackson] has failed," said Reed.

Jackson, said he plans to hire just under 100 more people for the entire department, not all of them officers.

He also called Reed's plan "unrealistic."

Election day is November 7.

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