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CLEVELAND (WJW)– Justin Bibb grew up on Cleveland’s southeast side and is currently the chief strategy officer for the nonprofit Urbanova.

Now, he’s running for mayor of Cleveland.

“I just have a sense of urgency about the problems that we see in the city. Poorest big city in America, 50 percent of our children living in poverty, the least connected in terms of the digital divide,” Bibb told FOX 8’s Wayne Dawson.

The 34-year-old has never held a political office, but he said young people are at the forefront of change.

“While I am not a career politician, I’ve been a business leader and a civic leader in this community for the past decade with one singular focus: Bringing people together,” he said.

Among the challenges facing Cleveland’s next mayor, crime tops the list.

“As the next mayor, I want to add a fourth option to 911 around mental health, so we have the right responses for our first responders for the right call. And I want to embed social workers and mental health professionals with our first responders so that we can truly tackle the root causes of violent crime that plague many of our neighborhoods,” Bibb said.

“One of the biggest things we can do in this city is real, the divide and the lack of trust between police and the community. It’s the mayor being visible and the mayor taking leadership and understanding the moral authority of the mayor’s office to bring leverage to that bully pulpit to heal those divides.”

Bibb is also focused of bringing back what he called forgotten communities, as opposed on devoting everything toward downtown.

“We also need to ensure we have a thriving urban core to grow our tax base so we do have the resources and the investment capital we need to bring back those forgotten communities,” he said.

His overall message to Cleveland voters? The time is now.

“Cleveland can’t wait. The time for bold new dynamic leadership,” Bibb said. “You only get one shot to get this recovery right coming out the the pandemic and I believe I’m the right leader for the right time.”

FOX 8 News is introducing you to the seven candidates for Cleveland mayor. Each Wednesday, we’ll air a story on a different candidate.