1) What makes you the best candidate for the 9th District?
Public service is about helping people. It’s not a show or a game. It’s about getting real results.
The key is working together. In its endorsement of my candidacy, the Plain Dealer cited my ability to create coalitions. And former Cleveland Mayor George Voinovich cited my ability to work in a bipartisan manner.
My leadership model is built on cooperation and collaboration. We need to leverage the creative abilities of all—elected officials, business leaders, teachers, faith-based communities, seniors, and ordinary citizens.
Let me give a concrete example. The idea for a World War Two Memorial came from a constituent named Roger Durbin, who had fought in the Battle of the Bulge. He approached me at a local fish fry with his idea. I took it and worked 17 years to turn it into reality. The result: a beautiful memorial in our nation’s capital that honors the Greatest Generation.
Seniority matters in Congress. I am the longest-serving woman in the House of Representatives and second-ranking Democrat on the powerful Appropriations Committee, which approves all federal spending. That means I can bring real results for our community in transportation, housing, infrastructure, seniors, Lake Erie, community agriculture—the whole gamut.
And I won’t back down from a fight, either. I led the opposition to the Wall Street bailout and stood up to a president of my own party in the historic fight against NAFTA.
I am an attentive, hard-working Congresswoman focused 100 percent on Northern Ohio. I have already visited Lakewood many times (to support the Beck Center and to work with Mayor Summers to address foreclosed vacant homes, for example). I look forward to meeting everyone in the weeks ahead. I know we’ll be great partners!
2) What do you see as the greatest problem for this District in the next two years?
The housing crisis is immediate and relates directly to a longer-term problem of unemployment.
My plan for job creation is already working. Let me share its outline with you.
Step 1: IDENTIFY A GROWTH SECTOR. Toledo identified solar energy; Lorain identified sensor technology.
Step 2: SECURE FEDERAL DOLLARS FOR R&D. We secured millions of research dollars for solar alone; likewise, Lorain County Community College has received substantial federal support for its Entrepreneurship and Innovation center.
Step 3: LEVERAGE PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS INTO REAL RESULTS. In both locales, we’re seeing job growth and spinoff companies. Northwest Ohio is a solar “hotspot” with approximately 6,000 jobs created. And NorTech estimates hundreds of jobs just from the Speed to Market Accelerator at LCCC.
That same model can work here. But one piece of the puzzle is still missing.
Step 1: Check. Biomedicine has been identified as a growth cluster with exciting promise.
Step 3: Check. Vibrant public-private partnerships are already in place through existing institutions.
What’s missing is Step 2: Federal support for research and development. That would be my priority as your representative in Washington.
With a stronger economy, Ninth District communities can better address the housing crisis. Housing woes plague every community; Cuyahoga County alone has approximately 15,000 vacant houses.
Mayor Summers and four members of city council showed me a house on Cranford that is being rehabilitated with Federal dollars. Lakewood’s leaders should be commended for their commitment, but they need help. One tool: my proposal for Rebuild America Bonds.
As always, the key is working together. I will be a strong advocate for Lakewood and a reliable partner at the federal level.
3) What is your vision for cities/suburbs like Lakewood and how will you use your position in Congress to fulfill this vision?
As an urban planner by training, I see Lakewood as a quintessentially “livable” community.
I am convinced that North Coast of Ohio is one of the most sustainable places on our planet. We live along the largest body of fresh water in the world. And the value of Lakewood’s geographical location on the Lake Erie shoreline, just minutes from downtown Cleveland, is inestimable.
Good schools, strong local government, affordable housing, and a diverse population add to Lakewood’s high livability ranking. An emerging “creative class” is already driving economic development and will only gain momentum.
In short, the table is set for future growth. Nonetheless, Lakewood needs effective representation at the national level to meet its challenges, including an aging infrastructure.
I would focus on helping Lakewood obtain its fair share of federal dollars to maintain roads and streets, sewers, and utilities to help attract new commercial business and even light industry. Although Lakewood’s housing stock is in better condition than many other communities, it needs constant attention through federal programs to stave off blight.
I look forward to assisting nascent industries such as food production and urban gardening—and certainly the arts! We simply must play to our strengths.
And I would collaborate with public and private partners to make the shoreline an even greater asset to the quality of life that will continue to distinguish Lakewood. With adequate green space and enhanced recreational opportunities, the Gold Coast in Lakewood could be an even more irresistible residential destination.
I can memorize the street grid and review planning documents, but the most important knowledge will come from listening to leaders such as Mayor Summers, Council President Powers, Council members, members of LakewoodAlive, and of course the people in this vibrant community.
Thank you for this opportunity to share my vision.