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CLEVELAND (WJW)– Kevin Kelley has walked the halls of Cleveland City Hall for 16 years. He spent four terms as the councilmember for Ward 13, the Old Brooklyn neighborhood.

Now, he wants the top job. He’s running for mayor.

During his time as city council president, he worked closely with outgoing Mayor Frank Jackson. He said although they don’t always agree, their partnership has been productive.

“If you look at the last 16 years, the department of finance, the financial foundation of the city, has been run very well. We gotten through two major recessions. We didn’t have layoffs this last recession. We’ve kept our bond rating high. We’ve kept people working so I think that if you look back, the fact that throughout turbulent times, we were able to steady the ship the whole time,” Kelley said.

Kelly said there’s room for improvement, especially when it comes to violent crime, which is up in Cleveland and across the country.

“The three-prong approach. First is, we need to support and give the police the tools they need to do the job. Right now, there are over 100 openings that are budgeted positions under the division of police so the specialty units, domestic violence, sex crimes, homicide detectives. There’s a lot of openings there,” he said. “The second prong is a real community policing approach. We need to look at neighborhood safety stations, we need to make general police orders have foot patrols, bike patrols, every direct has to have a community relations committee.”

“Third prong. We absolutely have to deal with the root cause of crime, which is poverty, which is hopelessness.”

Kelley said Cleveland has to invest in downtown and it’s neighborhoods.

“What I tell people is we need a strong central business district because the revenue that’s generated in downtown plows my snow in Old Brooklyn, it picks up my garbage in Old Brooklyn and in every other neighborhood.”

The St. Edward grad, husband and father of five daughters calls himself a self-made man. He lost his father at the age of 11, then worked his way through college and law school.

“My vision is that we can build a strong, safe, thriving neighborhoods where families see their futures, where families want to move to the city of Cleveland because this is the place where they see a good school system. This is where they see safe communities, where they see their growing old together. I think we can have a city where every day every person counts.”

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