Cincinnati Mayor-Elect Aftab Pureval says that in winning a decisive victory during the Nov. 2 general election, voters gave the city a "mandate" for racial equity and prosperity for all residents.
During a briefing with reporters Monday, Pureval discussed his plans to transition city leadership from outgoing eight-year mayor John Cranley to his own administration over the coming weeks. Pureval said that his grassroots campaign team, their focus issues and his margin of victory (about 66% to opponent and longtime politician David Mann's 34%) will inform his administration's priorities in January.
"Every member of our team worked hard to build a broad, diverse coalition, and the historic margin of this election presents a strong mandate for change in Cincinnati -- a mandate for bold leaders who will work together and who will place equity and growth at the heart of our shared mission," Pureval said on Nov. 15.
Pureval, who is the current clerk of courts for Hamilton County, said the campaign focused on affordable housing, economic growth, public safety and climate change. Now his team is looking to "implement those big ideas and drive results for our city."
"What people can expect in our first hundred days is bold action," Pureval said. "We need to capitalize on the incredible opportunity we have right now to shape not just the next four years, but the next four decades for our city."
The mayor-elect introduced the three people he's chosen to lead his transition until his administration takes over Jan. 1: Michael Fisher, president and CEO of Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center; Stephanie Jones, a former senior official with the Barack Obama administration; and former Cincinnati mayor Mark Mallory.
Pureval said that the group has been "central" to helping him prioritize ideas and next steps. The transition team -- which Mallory noted is not common for incoming mayors in Cincinnati -- is focusing on meeting with incoming Cincinnati City Council members, determining policy steps and helping with staffing. They will remain in place until January, though all three indicated that they would continue to aid Pureval in an informal capacity after he takes office.
Pureval said that the current administration also has been helpful, with Cranley meeting weekly with Pureval. He also has been meeting with his former opponent Mann, outgoing city manager Paula Boggs Muething and former Procter & Gamble brand executive Harry Kangis, he said.
Prior to winning the election, Pureval had indicated that he wanted to conduct a national search for a new city manager, something he confirmed to reporters still would happen once he takes office.
"It's very important for Cincinnati to know that there's only one mayor at a time, and so while I have been working collaboratively with Mayor Cranley...he is the mayor. So once I get sworn in and once I'm mayor, the national search and some of these other plans will be next," Pureval said. He added that he and Boggs Muething have not spoken directly about the issue.
As for who his vice-mayor might be, Pureval remained mum, saying that there would be an announcement soon.
On Jan. 1, Pureval will replace Cranley, who is ending his second and final term this year. Cranley is now is campaigning to become Ohio’s governor in 2022, joining current Governor Mike DeWine, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley and others in the ring.
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