Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson will not seek re-election in 2021

Updated: May. 6, 2021 at 5:44 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson announced Thursday during a Tele Town Hall he is not be running for a fifth term this fall.

“Everything we do in Cleveland and we’re successful at turns out to be a total community effort. But I’m not retired until I turn out the lights. When I turn out the lights, and I’m no longer here, then my plans are to do nothing unless I want to do it,” Mayor Jackson said.

The four-term 57th mayor of Cleveland was first elected in 2005 when he defeated incumbent Jane Campbell.

Before becoming mayor, Jackson served as a Cleveland City Councilman after winning a seat in 1989, and he went on to be Council President.

Ward 8 Cleveland City Councilman Mike Polensek tells 19 News he didn’t always agree with the mayor, but they respected each other’s love for the city, “He’s done more for the creation of new housing especially in downtown to create a real sense of a neighborhood downtown than any of the previous administrations.”

But Councilman Polensek also points out that under Mayor Jackson’s watch, crime is escalating along with poverty, “It should be very disheartening especially to the corporate community in this city that Cleveland is #1 in poverty across the country, and #2 in childhood poverty. Gun confiscations are up 120%, and we are ten more homicides (as of yesterday) ahead of where we were last year --and last year, we were on our way to set a record number of homicides. It’s not acceptable.”

Jackson’s last term has been filled with controversy after several grandchildren were arrested in different incidents with area police departments.

Several people, including former City Councilman Zack Reed, Cleveland City Council President Kevin Kelley, State Sen. Sandra Williams, and Councilman Basheer Jones, have filed to run.

Former Mayor Dennis Kucinich has considered tossing his hat into the race but has not officially filed.

Councilman Polensek says whoever is elected as Cleveland’s new mayor should be focused on improving the neighborhoods so people won’t want to move, “So whoever is going to run I believe the candidate who is going to be successful is really going to make quality of life issues their platform.”

Mayor Jackson said at this point he is not endorsing anyone for his job, and for right now, he has no particular plans during his retirement.

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