By Rev. Donald L. Perryman, Ph.D.
The Truth Contributor
A comeback is a setback that did its homework, learned the lesson, and then moved forward.
– Eleanor Brownn
Ohioans can say ‘Hello’ to vibrant socioeconomic life after death should voters hear and heed gubernatorial candidate John Cranley’s testimony of Cincinnati’s resurrection under his leadership.
Cranley, who served as Mayor of Cincinnati from December 1, 2013, to January 4, 2022, believes that the comeback he engineered in Cincinnati demonstrates his ability to deliver throughout Ohio.
A report from the Brookings Institute identifies Cincinnati as one of five cities offering a successful framework for using inclusive policies to boost wealth and lower poverty.
Others also attest to Cranley’s ability to bring new vigor to that which was collapsed and decayed as big news for Ohioans. For example, the Cleveland Plain Dealer notes, “Cranley’s record as Cincinnati’s mayor and the range and creativity of his proposals promise a better chance in November and a better outcome in the governor’s office.”
I spoke with Cranley about his work in Cincinnati and how his proposals might breathe new life into Ohio, including Toledo.
Here is our conversation:
Perryman: Good Afternoon. Let’s first let’s talk a little bit about your bio.
Cranley: I grew up in Cincinnati, blessed with faith at a young age, and went to Catholic grade schools and a Jesuit high school called St. Xavier, like St. John’s in Toledo. They inspired in me a sense of social justice.
We did a play about the life and assassination of Oscar Romero in high school, who was a human rights activist who was murdered in El Salvador in 1980. While doing the play, six Jesuit priests were murdered in San Salvador again. So, it felt like we were play-acting when people were literally being killed for standing up for their faith and ideals and for standing up for the poor and the oppressed. That experience really changed my life to want to go into public service.
Perryman: How about your higher education?
Cranley: I went to John Carroll University, where I was student body president, Harvard Law School, and Harvard Divinity School. So, I have a master’s in theology and a law degree. With my law degree, I was the co-founder of the Ohio Innocence Project, which uses DNA evidence to get people out of prison. My program has freed 34 people in the last 20 years, and I’m very proud of that work and effort.
Perryman: What were your accomplishments while mayor of Cincinnati?
Cranley: Of course, I’ve been mayor of Cincinnati for the last eight years. Under my leadership, we became the first comeback city of Ohio to start growing again. We reduced poverty 1-1/2 times faster than the State of Ohio, and economically we grew twice as fast as the state. We have more black-owned businesses that make $500,000 a year than any city in Ohio. I took city contracts with black-owned businesses from two percent to 17 percent during my time as mayor, and shootings were down last year. My leadership has led to results, to actual tangible results. I think that’s the kind of leadership that I can offer the people of Ohio.
Perryman: So why John Cranley for Governor of Ohio, and why is the time right for your leadership?
Cranley: Well, Ohio needs a comeback. Ohio used to be one of the biggest manufacturing powerhouses for the middle class in America. For the last 30 years, the Republicans have led to the average Ohioan making less money than the average American, so we need a comeback. Wages need to go up, and growth needs to happen in all parts of the state. I’ve done that in Cincinnati. I can do that for Ohio. The current leadership of the state under the Republicans has failed. Their leadership has failed, while mine has succeeded.
With Teresa Fedor as my running mate, we’re going to ramp up education from K-12 all the way to graduate schools. We’re going to guarantee jobs that pay $60,000 a year. We will legalize recreational marijuana and put the taxes into those jobs. We will create a basic form of income through a dividend to families of $500 per year like they have in Alaska and North Dakota to help people pay for this high inflation.
Perryman: Let’s talk about Toledo-specific issues. According to your perspective, what is Toledo’s importance to the State of Ohio?
Cranley: Well, it’s so important that I picked my running mate, Teresa Fedor, from Toledo! Toledo reminds me a lot of Cincinnati in it has enormous potential to make a comeback. There’s been a lot of exciting things happening to revitalize the city, and it needs a partner in the state to help out.
We will ensure that clean water is never in question in Toledo, get rid of the smell and ensure that we’re taking advantage of a valuable asset like Lake Erie. So, we will tackle and stop the algae blooms and use engineering and farmer-friendly solutions to reduce the fertilizer run-off, which causes a lot of the algae blooms.
I’m also going to restore local government funds that help the city provide the basic services it pays for but doesn’t get the money back from Columbus. Then, of course, with Marcy Kaptur, who’s supporting our campaign, and Teresa Fedor, we’re also going to bring a community college into Lucas County. There are community colleges in the other counties, but not in Lucas County directly, where you have the most diversity. So, we want a community college in Lucas County.
Perryman: How will you address the disparities that disproportionately affect minority populations and other issues, such as the attempt to defund public schools?
Cranley: Teresa and I have pledged to fully fund on a constitutional basis, which has never happened in 25 years of K-12 education. So, we’re going to have a standalone K-12 budget in the first 100 days of our time in office. In addition, we’re going to propose optional summer school possibilities for families whose kids may have lost learning during COVID. We’re going to make that a huge priority.
Perryman: How about people dealing with these insane prescription drug prices and Medicaid expansion to seniors, women, and children?
Cranley: Yes, absolutely, we support all of that. We support anti-price gouging. We are also supporting a dividend to help people pay bills, which has never been tried before in Ohio. They have it in Alaska and North Dakota, and we should have it in Ohio.
Perryman: There appears to be a relationship gap between urban and rural voters. Do you have a specific plan to connect minorities and disaffected whites, including those who formerly voted for Obama but now are supporting Trump?
Cranley: The way to unite them is an agenda that works for the inner city and rural. For example, the number one issue facing inner-city and rural Ohio is the lack of access to good cell phone coverage and high-speed broadband Wi-Fi. This policy is important to farmers, and it’s essential for inner-city kids to be able to do their homework.
Teresa and I will get broadband and Wi-Fi to the whole state in four years, and that’s a way to bring people together. Those voters who voted for Obama and Trump also support legalized marijuana and my dividend idea. So, my agenda unites the Democratic Party and reaches out to those very voters that we’ve lost.
Perryman: What went into your decision to team up with Fedor?
Cranley: She’s an Air Force veteran, a public educator and a fighter for social justice. So, her heart’s in the right place, and she makes a great team. And, it’s also great to bring someone from Toledo.
Perryman: Given the mess in Ohio’s restricting maps and our gerrymandering problem, how will you respond?
Cranley: I’ll follow the Constitution. It’s abominable that Governor DeWine has said that he knows that the maps he had voted for were not constitutional, but he did it anyway. He broke his oath, and I never will.
Perryman: How will you address legislative issues such as HB-327, which prohibits the teaching of factual history and other things deemed divisive concepts by the Republicans?
Cranley: I’ll fight it. I don’t think we should be banning books. I think we should teach our kids to be proud Americans but not sugarcoat our history.
Perryman: Do you have plans for bringing more women and minorities into leadership positions?
Cranley: Absolutely. I’ve always had a diverse team that will reflect the diversity of the State of Ohio. When I was mayor, my police chief, fire chief, and parks director were all African Americans. My personal staff was half white, half black, with leadership roles for women across the board. We will do the same as governor.
Perryman: Would you like to discuss First Energy?
Cranley: Well, it’s the worst scandal in the history of the State of Ohio, and it took money out of people’s pockets to bail out First Energy. Mike DeWine takes money out of your pockets. Teresa Fedor and I will put money in your pockets. I’m going to take money from the special interests and put it in people’s pockets in the dividend, $500 per year. I’m also going to fire the utility commissioners the day I’m sworn in and replace them with people who will stand up for the ratepayers.
Perryman: Lastly, please provide The Truth’s readers with the essence of your campaign message.
Cranley: Ohio needs a comeback. I have delivered a comeback in Cincinnati that is better than the State of Ohio. I’ve provided faster growth and faster poverty reduction. In contrast, Mike DeWine and the Republicans have made the state worse off. My primary opponent has underperformed the State of Ohio.
If we’re going to get the Ohio voters to fire Mike DeWine, we need to have a candidate whose economic record is better than the state’s.
Only my record is better.
Contact Rev. Donald Perryman, PhD, at firstname.lastname@example.org