CLEVELAND (WJW)– FOX 8 News caught up with former U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich and his wife, Elizabeth, shopping and campaigning at one of their favorite locations: the West Side Market.
“I’ve been coming here since I was a child, and I remember the market teaming with people and vendors. And its\’s still a great place. People, small businesses put a lot of time and effort into building their family business, but is been neglected. I’m going to bring the market back,” he said.
Kucinich was the mayor of Cleveland from 1978 to 1979. Once called “the boy mayor,” he’s running for the office again. This time at the age of 74.
“I love this city. There are so many things that can be done for Cleveland. We can make it a safer city, we can make it a more prosperous city, we can actually have civic peace,” he told FOX 8’s Wayne Dawson. “You have to keep in mind I’ve served this community in so many capacities. I’ve been a councilman, clerk of courts, mayor, state senator, congressman and, of course, I’ve run for president twice.”
Kucinich said he doesn’t pay attention to what his opponents say: That he’s the same man who was mayor in the 1970s. At that time, the city went into default, and Kucinich and the business community were at odds.
“Well, same DNA. Come on look, I don’t pay attention to what anybody else is saying. This is my relationship with the people of this city. The people know they can trust me,” he responded.
“I can’t be bought and I can’t be bossed. Let’s get real. Everybody knows that default was that banker at Cleveland Trust telling me, ‘You sell many light or we’re not gonna renew credit on your loans.’ People know about that, they know what’s now call CEI, then now it’s First Energy, they know about the corruption that was involved. I had to stand up to it now. I could do it at age 31, think about how much better I am at age 32.”
The Kucinich campaign was criticized for sending on flyers with a script Cleveland sign riddled with blood and bullets. Destination Cleveland, the city’s visitors bureau, sent him a cease and desist for using its trademark. We asked if he regretted the mailers.
“My regret is Cleveland has one of the highest per capital homicide rates. My regret is the drive-by shootings taking place every day and people are getting wounded and sometimes killed. My regret is there are neighborhoods in the city where people can’t walk the streets at night without fear of being shot,” he said.
This crime a central topic of the mayoral race and a pillar of Kucinich’s campaign, we asked what he would do about it.
“We need more police. We need to make sure the police respect people’s rights, that they are racially sensitive, that they understand the Constitution of the United States and that they enforce the law. We need more traffic police. We need to make sure that we create an atmosphere of safety and peace,” he said. “You know, one of the reasons I’m running for mayor we’ll create a civic police department that looks at the underlying cause of violence in our neighborhoods, get under it and deal with it, and maybe it would percolate into a shooting.”
FOX 8 News is introducing you to the seven candidates for Cleveland mayor. Each Wednesday, we’ll air a story on a different candidate.