Cleveland, OH

County Executive Candidates Lee Weingart and Chris Ronayne Spar at the City Club of Cleveland

Brown on Cleveland
Lee Weingart and Chris Ronayne County Executive CandidatesCourtesy of Team Weingart and Team Ronayne

Cuyahoga County, OH. - The November General Election is approaching, and County Executive Candidates Lee Weigngart and Chris Ronayne are seeking the highest elected office in Cuyahoga County. They both want to become the next County Executive of Cuyahoga County. Armond Budish currently holds the position. Budish will not seek re-election.

The City Club of Cleveland held a Candidates' forum at the Renaissance Hotel in Downtown Cleveland, OHIO. Nick Castele, the Senior Reporter for Ideastream, moderated the discussion. As the clock struck 12n, Weingart and Ronayne introduced themselves to community leaders in a power-packed room. Both men stood on their respective sides of the stage as they answered pre-screened questions from community members.

Community members asked basic questions about a new or renovated jail; housing foster care youth, community support, taxes, economic development, police and community relations, employment, arts and culture, and the country's relationship with our two leading hospitals. Although the questions were not shocking, they allowed for political stump speeches and feel-good answers from both candidates. As to be expected, it was the norm. Democrats in the room clapped for Ronayne, and Republicans in the building applauded Weingart. The question remains, who is looking out for all constituents in Cuyahoga County; Lee Weingart, the former Commissioner of Cuyahoga County, or Chris Ronayne, the former Chief Executive Officer of University Circle?

Weingart identifies himself as an experienced, transparent, and ambitious leader. "Cuyahoga County needs a County Executive who is not afraid to roll up his sleeves and do the work." Ronayne used an old cliche, "You know me," after stating Happy Birthday to Dan Moulthrop, the event organizer, and constantly name-dropping throughout the entire forum. We noted some critical moments during the discussion:

Let's Talk County Jail Proposal:

  1. Fourteen people have died in the County Jail under the Budish Administration, and the Current County Council
  2. The County has spent approximately two million dollars on consulting firms thus far

Weingart envisions two smaller jails long with diversion and treatment programs. Weingart wants to reduce the jail population for non-violent offenders.

Ronayne wants to revisit area sites that consultants suggest. His goal is rehabilitation and lessening the jail population.

Community Investment:

Community member Chanel Moon of Warrensville Heights wanted to know if the next County Executive would only focus on Cleveland. Both candidates said they would work with and support elected officials of the inner ring suburbs. Weingart also stated that his administration would invest in the people, not the government.

Ronayne attempted to tout his horn about a plan he crafted to take money away from the budget of our region's two-main hospitals and top employers. Weingart informed Ronanye that his goal was premature in the making. "Chris, you did not consult with the hospital president about your plan. He accused Ronanyne of announcing a project without having a conversation with key players of the hospitals. You did not call the Chief Executive Officers; you called Mayors. Mayors do not run the hospitals: bad timing, bad idea," stated Weingart.

Department of Children and Family Services and Fostercare:

Weingart and Ronanye agreed that the system is not working; ineffective and inefficient. The issue of young people sleeping inside the county building has been a hot topic lately. Fox 8 News Reporter Ed Gallek has been investigating this public health crisis.

Both candidates claim they have met with foster care parents regarding the needed services.

Weingart stated that he would terminate the Director. "I will immediately terminate the Director and reform the department. I will raise reimbursement rates. They have failed our children. I will reform this department to keep our children safe."

Ronayne stated that he would ensure higher wages for DCFS case workers. We need to take care of our talent. Workers generate $14 and 15 dollars an hour. They can make more money at Target. Why would they work for the County if they can make more money elsewhere? We have to make sure that we take care of them."

Lee Weingart and Chris Ronayne are the candidates. In a few weeks, one of these candidates will become the next county executive of Cuyahoga County. Weingart wants the infighting and corruption to stop, and Ronayne wants everybody to get along. According to Community Solutions, the Cuyahoga County Executive will oversee a budget of approximately $1.5 Billion.

As the General election approaches, voters will hear more from each candidate as they will be casting their ballot for one of the other or, in some cases, neither.

Early voting starts October 12, 2022. The general election is Tuesday, November 8, 2022. The polls open from 6:30 am - 7:30 pm.

Disclaimer: Brown on Cleveland Newsbreak, we do not endorse candidates for elected office.

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"Brown On Cleveland" features podcast host, former licensed social worker, an occasional National FOX News Network guest, and social justice activist Kimberly F. Brown. Brown is a former talk show host with WOVU.95fm. She has over 20 years of experience as an on-air radio personality. Brown is the Chief Administrator of The Brown Report Newspaper. Brown's background is in investigative reporting.

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