Sam Allard / Scene
Screenshot: Candidate and MGK fan Lee Weingart announces campaign policies at Zoom press conference, (1/26/22).
Republican Lee Weingart formally filed his petitions to run for Cuyahoga County Executive at the Board of Elections early Wednesday afternoon.
Weingart, the former county commissioner who launched his campaign a full year ago, has been fundraising and campaigning ever since. Wednesday morning, he held a press conference outlining the key policy objectives for his campaign, the specificity of which he said separated him from the other candidates in the race.
"This race is about ideas, not ideology," he said. His vision for the county is documented in what he calls his "Cuyahoga 2030" plan.
Weingart's ideas are centered foremost on building wealth in the urban core. To do that, he said he'd like to invest heavily in home ownership; provide grants, tax incentives and other subsidies to induce local corporations to expand or relocate along public transit routes in the City of Cleveland and first-ring suburbs; and provide training and startup capital to for entrepreneurs, especially those who otherwise would not have access to these resources.
Second, he'd like to provide property tax relief to seniors to keep them in their homes longer and encourage development without the specter of gentrification. Weingart vowed not to raise the county's portion of local property taxes for the duration of his time in office. Furthermore, he said that for residents older than 60 with a household income of less than $50,000 per year, he would roll back home valuations to pre-2021 levels and freeze property taxes at that level until the property is transferred. For those in that demographic who have owned their homes for more than 20 years, Weingart said he would cut property taxes by an additional 20%.
"Taking care of seniors is important public policy," he said.
Third, Weingart said he wanted to return to an elected County Sheriff in order to make the county's highest ranking law enforcement officer directly accountable to the public. Though moving to an appointed Sheriff was part of county government reform in 2011, Weingart said that the office's corruption under Gerald McFaul
"pales in comparison" to the 13 deaths at the county jail since 2018.
Weingart said all of these policies, which include specific plans of action, would help make the county a better place to live for all residents.
"You can run to be someone or you can run to do something," he said. "Clearly, I am running to do something."
On the Democratic side, the Executive Committee of the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party meets Wednesday evening to make endorsements in the County Executive race, along with endorsements for county council and countywide judicial seats.
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