Former Cleveland Councilman Zack Reed Officially Launches Mayoral Campaign

click to enlarge Former Cleveland Councilman Zack Reed Officially Launches Mayoral Campaign
Photo by Andrew Williams, courtesy of Zack Reed

As expected, former Cleveland City Councilman and 2017 mayoral contender Zack Reed has launched his campaign for Cleveland Mayor in 2021. Reed last week resigned from his post as a minority affairs coordinator with Secretary of State Frank LaRose. He had long said that stepping down from his state job was a prerequisite for his local run.

“I grew up in Cleveland. I have been in every neighborhood and probably every street,” said Reed, in a campaign announcement sent to the media Monday. “I am running for Mayor to make a difference in the lives of real people throughout this city. An amazing future is within our reach. As Cleveland’s next Mayor, we’re going to strengthen our neighborhoods, create more opportunities and ensure a better life for all residents.”

Reed's "vision," as outlined on his new campaign website, centers solutions to poverty, violence and "a lack of opportunity." He argues that inaction from leadership has resulted in Cleveland's current circumstances.

"The status quo is never good enough," he says.

In a conversation at the City Club in the aftermath of summer racial justice demonstrations, Reed rejected the notion of defunding the police, but said that he ne longer thought that increasing the number of police officers was the most effective way to combat violence. Bulking up the police force was central to his 2017 campaign.

On his current website, though, Reed says that hiring more officers is one of the first steps in building safer neighborhoods.

"This starts by hiring more officers, increasing police efficiency, response times, training and taking strong measures that hold them accountable," the vision page reads.

Reed listed a number of additional priorities, including holding the schools accountable, instituting new programs and partnerships at Cuyahoga Community College and overhauling the city's infrastructure.

A video that Reed shared on Twitter Monday shows the candidate talking to constituents across town, accompanied by a jaunty piano riff. He said he wants to "bring back positive energy" to a city where leadership obstructs, rather than promotes, progress.

"For me it's never been about some out of touch political agenda," he says, "It's about making a difference in the lives of real people."


Reed was an active campaigner in 2017 and won one of the top two spots in the primary election. He ultimately lost, in decisive fashion, to incumbent Frank Jackson. Reed is a lifelong resident of Cleveland's Mt. Pleasant neighborhood on the southeast side, an area he represented on city council from 2001-2017. He'll be competing for votes there with, among others, young executive Justin Bibb, one of the only serious candidates who has declared.

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About The Author

Sam Allard

Sam Allard is the Senior Writer at Scene, in which capacity he covers politics and power and writes about movies when time permits. He's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and the NEOMFA at Cleveland State. Prior to joining Scene, he was encamped in Sarajevo, Bosnia, on an...
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