CLEVELAND-- Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson will have a challenger in the race for mayor this fall.
On Monday, Ken Lanci, 63, announced his plans to run against the incumbent as a democratic in the September primary. Lanci previously ran for Cuyahoga County Executive and lost after spending approximately $1 million of his personal fortune.
“By that most critical of measures, the quality of its residents lives, the current mayor has failed. I’m here to let the people of Cleveland know that will not be forgotten,” said Lanci. He made his announcement from his East 40th Street business which he said generates $25 million in sales each year.
Lanci is a multi-millionaire who grew-up in a housing project in Cleveland, where he said many residents are still suffering from a lack of jobs and a struggling school system. According to Lanci, Mayor Jackson is not a bad guy but the city needs a change. He is focusing his campaign on a three-point plan.
“I will ensure a quality education for the children of our residents. I will make the safety of our residents an absolute priority. I will create good jobs for our present and future residents,” said Lanci.
Progress has been made in the city, according to Lanci, but he said the current mayor has focused solely on the downtown area. According to Lanci, there is more work to be done outside the busy area near Public Square.
“I think that the appetite for this type of change for somebody to come in and truly work for the greater good of all is what's going to make the difference here,” said Lanci.
The candidate for mayor was joined by many supporters, including Carol Lade, a former Jackson supporter. “Frank has been here awhile, just like the last White administration. I think two terms is enough for everybody,” said Lade.
Lanci vows to run a clean campaign based on the facts, which he said are on his side. However, Mayor Jackson has supporters lining up to re-elect him to a third term. In Cleveland, there are no term limits for mayors.
“He’s concerned about the citizens of Cleveland and he’s done everything he can to make it a better place,” said Gwen Pitts, a Cleveland resident and Jackson supporter.
In response to Lanci’s announcement, Mayor Jackson released the following statement to FOX 8 News: “He’s got a right to run for office. It’s the beauty of American democracy.”
“I have done this before,” said Lanci, “I’ve turned around companies. I’ve worked with people. I await the opportunity.”
Lanci will face Mayor Jackson in the September primary and the two candidates who finish at the top will face-off in the non-partisan general election in November.