Photo: Andrew Wells / Courtesy Ross Dibello
Thirty-eight-year-old West Park attorney Ross DiBello alerted media Tuesday that he had officially pulled petitions at the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections and will run for Mayor of Cleveland in 2021. Assuming he manages to collect the 3,000 signatures required by city charter, he’ll be among a crowded field of candidates seeking the Cleveland’s top municipal post.
Scene reported in October that DiBello, a non-politician who grew up in Chesterland, had launched a campaign website signaling his intention to run. In a press release Tuesday, he reiterated the priorities stated there, which center on democratic governance and across-the-board reform at City Hall.
“Our entrenched politicians have used hurtful, backchannel methods to disregard civilian signatures and ignore the will of the people on critical issues time and again,” said DiBello, in his statement Tuesday. “The time has finally come for Clevelanders to be heard in the management of our great city.”
DiBello wants to introduce term limits for the Mayor and City Council and reduce the cap on campaign contributions, among other things. He cited Cleveland’s infant mortality, lead poisoning, poverty and crime as evidence of current leaders’ failures.
If many of the candidates expected to run do indeed pull petitions, DiBello will be an outsider competing against a bevy of established politicians and regional elder statesmen. Former Mayor and Congressman Dennis Kucinich admitted in an interview last month for the first time that he was “seriously considering” running for Mayor. Incumbent Frank Jackson has not yet indicated whether or not he will seek an unprecedented fifth term.
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