After growing up in Warrensville Heights and graduating from Warrensville Heights High School, I left in 1981 to learn how to be the person I wanted to become—going first to the University of Wisconsin, then to The Ohio State University, and the NBA, teaming up with Hall of Fame players. Eventually, I played basketball all over the world during a time of massive global change.
One of the many things I learned during that time was good things can happen ANYWHERE. No matter how big the challenge, as long as good people are willing to work with each other, good things can happen.
When my twenty years as a professional athlete ended, I came home to Warrensville Heights to make good things happen HERE, just like I saw them happen around the world. I’ve been working at it ever since—first as Warrensville Heights’ economic development director and, for the last decade, as its Mayor.
I’m running for County Executive for the same reason I came back—to make good things—important and necessary things—happen for Cuyahoga County. Cuyahoga County residents want, need, and deserve more good things happening for them and should expect a county government that can get the job done.
We’ve been getting the job done in Warrensville Heights, even though plenty of people said we couldn’t. When I started as economic development director, I heard the same thing over and over: “No one wants a Warrensville Heights address.”
I couldn’t accept this. I learned as an athlete that people often defeat themselves before they ever step foot on the court. It’s the same message I share with my four daughters. If you start with the word “can’t” in your head, you’ve already lost. In Warrensville Heights, while others were saying “can’t,” we saw opportunities. It has led to us adding more than 3,000 new jobs and more than half a billion dollars in construction projects.
To make good things happen in Warrensville Heights, we changed the game. We aimed high—no half-steps and no settling for mediocrity. We brought everyone in on this dream, building a community-wide team. And we took inspiration and good ideas from everywhere we found them. We built trust between the community and its government. We held each other accountable for delivering at the level we promised. And, of course, we put in the work—and there has been a lot of it.
Changing the game worked.
We have to change the game all across Cuyahoga County. And the place to start making that change is in the County Executive’s office.
We are facing a unique opportunity at a critical time – “can’t” can’t be allowed to hold Cuyahoga County back. Our county has big, pressing challenges that have to be addressed, including the need for a new jail, questions about the airport, strengthening our safety net, and putting our Lakefront to the best possible use.
And, as COVID-19 and the opioid crisis have reminded us in recent years, the County plays an even bigger role in keeping us healthy and providing vital human services.
We have to face these issues head-on and aim high as we try to solve them. But our vision can’t just be about big businesses, big development projects, and big institutions. We have to catalyze good things everywhere—in all 59 of Cuyahoga County’s diverse cities, villages, and townships.
We can’t lose sight that the real work is on the first floor—making sure our efforts work for everyone—making people’s days a little easier, giving them hope, and helping to make their lives better. That’s the game we need to change.
I believe that public service and public leadership are about DELIVERING for people. That’s the mission. As Mayor of Warrensville Heights, every day, I go to work happy because I get to deliver for people. I’m running for Cuyahoga County Executive for the opportunity to deliver for all of Cuyahoga County. I hope you will join me as we work to change the game and get the job done.