The day after Ward 13 councilman Kevin Kelley announced that he will run for Mayor, Kris Harsh, the housing director at the Metro West community development corporation, announced that he will run to claim Kelley's seat.
Harsh, a veteran community organizer, has worked with a number of local activist campaigns and served as the State Director for Stand Up for Ohio, the effort to defeat Senate Bill 5, which would have curtailed the power of the state's public workers to strike and collectively bargain.
In a statement provided to the media, Harsh said he was excited to launch his council campaign. "My experience in bringing people together to create real change is the difference I bring to this race,” he said.
He also cited his relevant experience at Metro West, the CDC in the neighborhoods of Clark-Fulton, Stockyards and Brooklyn Center.
Harsh's work, he said, "has enabled him to learn the mechanics of City Hall and how best to help residents at the city level. He has been involved in dozens of new construction projects, over 100 home renovation projects and fielded hundreds of resident calls ranging from code violations to crime and safety issues."
Harsh lives in Old Brooklyn with his wife and three children. In the race to claim the seat occupied by Kevin Kelley since 2006, he will be going up against Kate Warren, a research fellow at the Center for Community Solutions, who formally launched her campaign earlier this week.
Harsh already has an enthusiastic supporter in former city councilman and CDC alumnus Brian Cummins, who said Harsh worked on his campaign in 2009. Writing from Tbilisi, Georgia, Cummins said he believed Cleveland government needed more candidates like Harsh: "bright, pragmatic professionals who have worked in the trenches."
"The strongest thing about his candidacy is how approachable, empathetic and pragmatic he is," Cummins wrote, "and how he can analyze and judge a situation and work to find lasting solutions or improvements no matter how challenging the situation."
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