Nearly 30 mayors across Cuyahoga County endorsed the Democratic candidate for Cuyahoga County Executive, Chris Ronanye, at a press event Tuesday morning on the Cuyahoga River.
Ronayne dubbed the occasion the "biggest day" of his campaign, (which presumably stands to be topped only by the election itself on Nov. 8, if things go his way). In comments directed to the elected leaders behind him and the small crowd of volunteers in front of him, he reasserted his commitment to collaboration, his respect for home rule, and his gratitude for the tireless leadership of Cuyahoga County's mayors.
"I am here for you just as you are here for me," he said. "And I feel very strongly that our best days are ahead."
Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb and former Cleveland mayors Michael R. White and Jane Campbell all offered remarks in support of Ronayne. They celebrated him for his dedication and spirit of partnership.
Bibb said that, among other things, he was looking forward to having a colleague with whom he could travel to Washington D.C. and Columbus to advocate on behalf of the region and secure its fair share of federal and state resources.
"We need to move from wanting to get our share of the pie to asking, 'How can we grow the pie together?" He said.
Bibb also lamented a congenital "lack of grandness" in the region and said Ronayne was the type of leader who was unafraid to dream big, to tackle intractable problems with bold new ideas.
Jane Campbell, sporting a hot pink blazer, noted that for mayors, the most precious resource was time, and that assembling nearly 30 busy mayors for a weekday morning event was a testament to Ronayne's leadership. (Ronayne ran Campbell's mayoral campaign and later worked as her economic development director and chief of staff.)
Richmond Heights Mayor Kim Thomas recounted stories of Ronayne's generosity as the executive director of University Circle Inc. and as a political volunteer. She said that voters could expect not only a dedicated leader in Ronayne, but a friend as well.
"Chris is just the nicest guy," she said. "He is always the first to raise his hand and the last to leave. He shows up, and he follows up. His first questions is always, 'How can I help?'"
Ronayne emceed the event himself and introduced the speakers individually with words of gratitude and praise. Twas a total love-fest all around.
Republican opponent Lee Weingart interpreted the event as further evidence of Ronayne's appeal to "insiders." In comments to Scene, he said that many of the mayors had previously endorsed Ronayne.
"Couldn't be a better example of Chris being 'Mr. Insider' and me being 'Mr. Outsider,'" he said. "He engages mayors. I engage voters. He's relying on endorsements and his party. I'm running on ideas and change."
According to the Ronayne campaign, the suburban mayors who endorsed him included: Justin Berns, Mayor of Beachwood; Annette Blackwell, Mayor of Maple Heights; Brenda Bodnar, Mayor of Mayfield Village; Michael Booker, Mayor of the Village of Highland Hills; Michael Dylan Brennan, Mayor of University Heights; Matt Burke, Mayor of Garfield Heights; Tim DeGeeter, Mayor of Parma; Katie Gallagher, Mayor of Brooklyn; Marie Gallo, Mayor of Parma Heights; Meghan George, Mayor of Lakewood; Ben Holbert, Mayor of Woodmere; Kirsten Holzheimer Gail, Mayor of Euclid; Nicole Dailey Jones, Mayor of North Olmsted; Paul Koomar, Mayor of Bay Village; Edward Kraus, Mayor of Solon; John M. Licastro, Mayor of Bratenahl; Ashlee McLaughlin, Mayor of Linndale; Kathy U. Mulcahy, Mayor of Orange Village; Edward Orcutt, Mayor of Brook Park; Kahlil Seren, Mayor of Cleveland Heights; Kim Thomas, Mayor of Richmond Heights; Gigi Traore, Mayor of Newburgh Heights; David Weiss, Mayor of Shaker Heights; and Georgine Welo, Mayor of South Euclid
Sign up for Scene's weekly newsletters to get the latest on Cleveland news, things to do and places to eat delivered right to your inbox.