Williams said her 15 years at the Ohio Statehouse, eight years as a representative and the last seven in the state senate, more than qualifies her for the job.
“Since I’ve been in Columbus, I have been delivering a lot of results for Cleveland. I mean, when the mayor calls me up and asks me to support the Cleveland Plan, I did. And you know, that changed the graduation rate from 46 to 80 percent graduation rate. Then I helped the port authorities in the city of Cleveland bring home money,” Williams said. “When the Irishtown Bend was falling in, all of that was me. The Third Frontier, which helped our health care corridor, that was me.”
“So I just want to finish what I started.”
From state legislator to Cleveland’s chief administrator, if elected, she would inherit a city plagued with problems. First among them is a surge in violent crime.
“This plan that I have will up root the crime network in general. So the crime sites, the places that are their comfort zone that they hang out at, where it’s the Buckeye Plaza or whether it’s the Gene’s Corner Store on the street, we want to watch and see on a regular basis how they more and just kind of infiltrate their network. Secondly, we’re going after their private spaces, their private spaces where they sleep, where they hold their weapons, their drugs. They might be human trafficking going after those sites, getting great detail on how they move and separate and finally going after property owners who allow stuff to happen.”
“Don’t forget crime is happening for a couple of reasons. Number one: People don’t have economic opportunity, people don’t have that mentorship, family networks that they’re seeking. And we have to address those issues at the same time by making sure there are jobs that pay people a living wage,” Williams said.
When it comes to urban development, Williams said she knows the importance of supporting downtown businesses, but her focus will be on the neighborhoods.
“I think its high time for us to come back to the east side because these people, I live on the eastside, we have been forgotten,” she said. “We’ll have a one-stop shop for residents to come and have their complaints heard, whether it’s coming in person, whether it’s online, whether it’s the app or calling on the telephone. I want people to know that their concerns are my concerns and they will not go unaddressed.”
Williams admitted she’s a dreamer with a bold vision for the city.
“I see a city were everybody is thriving, where you have Black contractors and white contractors who are thriving who are successful, and there are economic development opportunities in our city. I see a place where you ride up and down the street and you don’t have to worry about seeing empty storefronts, where you see businesses, small businesses growing and thriving because people in the community are supporting them. I see walking down the street and not stepping onto a porch, like I’ve been doing over the last serval months and wondering if I’m going to fall in, because the owner can’t afford to fix up their house.”
FOX 8 News is introducing you to the seven candidates for Cleveland mayor. Each Wednesday, we’ll air a story on a different candidate.