Warrensville Heights mayor and former pro basketballer Brad Sellers announced Wednesday that he was entering the 2022 race for Cuyahoga County Executive. Sellers, who has served Warrensville Heights for 20 years in various roles, will face former University Circle Inc. Chris Ronayne in the race's Democratic primary.
Speaking at a virtual press conference Wednesday afternoon, Sellers highlighted his accomplishments in the small, predominantly African-American southeastern suburb. He said he "changed the game" for the residents and businesses of Warrensville and planned to do the same for the residents and businesses of Cuyahoga County at large.
He identified a new Cuyahoga County jail, questions surrounding the airport and lakefront access as key priorities, and he stressed that development projects across the board must be more than just bricks and mortar efforts if they are to succeed.
"We have to catalyze good things everywhere," he said, "making sure we are listening to all 59 of Cuyahoga County’s diverse cities, villages, and townships. We can’t lose sight that the real work is on the first floor, not in the penthouse. We need to make sure our efforts work for everyone."
Sellers' remarks were light on specifics and heavy on basketball analogies. He likened the role of county government to that of a point guard, suggesting that the county should serve as an orchestrator, collaborating with cities and ensuring that finite resources are distributed based on a system of tiered priorities. Though he was reluctant to be critical of current or former leaders, he said health and human services were the backbone of county government and that delivery of those services have to improve.
When Armond Budish declared that he would not seek a third term this fall, Sellers said he felt there was an avenue for his candidacy. He made the decision to run after consultation with his family. Given his 20 years of leadership experience, he said he felt he had plenty to offer the residents of the region.
As for Ronayne, Sellers said he considers him a friend, and looks forward to a robust and competitive primary campaign season. "It doesn't have to be adversarial," Sellers said. "Chris has a set of unique experiences. Mine are different. What we built here in Warrensville Heights, we did from the ground up."
Sellers said he is looking forward to restoring Cuyahoga County to its role as the "premier entity" in the state of Ohio, and said he believes he has the perspective and the experience to guide it to that outcome.
"A lot of times in Cuyahoga County, we go partway," he said. "But I don't do that. If you know me, you know I go all the way. And there's no question in my mind that it can be done. It takes skill and the willingness and gumption to believe that it can be different."
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