CLEVELAND — Since high school, it’s been Justin Bibb’s dream to run for office and serve his community. He’s very close to finding out if that dream will become a reality.
Clevelanders are set to decide if Bibb will become the city’s next mayor. Not only is this position one he wants, but he believes it’s what the city he was raised in needs.
“As I think about what our city needs coming out of this pandemic, we cannot afford more of the same,” Bibb said.
The 34-year-old said he’s ready to change the trajectory of Cleveland, not only by bringing fresh faces to city hall, but fresh ideas followed by action.
“The first thing I need to do if I’m blessed to become the next mayor of Cleveland is to do the hard work of building a brand new government during the transition,” Bibb said.
Along with creating an accessible, transparent City Hall, Bibb’s other main focus is public safety which includes increasing accountability for police misconduct, working to improve police and community relations, and support and retain officers.
“We also need to do a better job of paying our cops more. We're losing so many of our officers right now that are coming out of the academy. They're going to our suburban cities,” he said.
Bibb also said if elected, making sure equity is at the center of every decision he makes is a priority.
“We have to recognize that Cleveland is still a majority Black city and many Black neighborhoods in the city are struggling for their fair share,” he said.
Unlike his competitor, Cleveland City Council President Kevin Kelley, Bibb, who is a nonprofit leader, has never held political office. Bibb said both his personal and professional experiences has prepared him to be mayor.
“Beyond the business and executive experience that I have had, I’ve been on the front lines as a civic leader in this issue on this in the city for nearly a decade. As a board member for RTA (Regional Transit Authority), I fought for more affordable public transit. I fought to put body cams on transit police,” Bibb said.
And the differences between he and Kelley is what Bibb said he believes voters may focus on.
“I hope the voters in Cleveland recognize the stark differences and the choice that's on the ballot, and I hope they're gonna take some faith and be OK with turning the page for brighter direction for Cleveland,” Bibb said.