Mayors Emphasize the Need for Local Innovation, Statewide Collaboration
December 15, 2023
COLUMBUS – Mayors from Ohio’s 30 largest cities gathered in the state capital this week for the Ohio Mayors Alliance annual meeting. The bipartisan group of mayors met with state officials and held discussions on policy issues most important to Ohio’s cities in 2024. At a press conference, the mayors emphasized the need for local innovation and statewide collaboration on public safety, economic development, and housing.
“Ohio cities help drive regional growth and support the state’s overall economic success,” said Findlay Mayor Christina Muryn. “The more state and local leaders can find common ground and work together, the better it is for our communities and our state.”
The mayors discussed the important balance between maintaining local control to allow for innovative local solutions, and the need to work together and collaborate with state leaders. “To address our biggest challenges, such as housing, economic development, and public safety, we need both local innovation and statewide collaboration,” said Youngstown Mayor Tito Brown.
“Public safety is one of the most important issues for our communities and it is the largest budgetary expenditure for almost every city in Ohio,” said Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb. “Cleveland and many other cities have made significant investments in our public safety workforce, and we must maintain those local investments and work with our state partners to protect the long-term fiscal health of Ohio’s cities.”
“Local control allows for local innovation,” said Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther. “That is why it is important to preserve local self-governance and protect the right to home rule. Not every community in Ohio is the same and local leaders must have the flexibility to establish innovative policy solutions to the unique challenges of their communities.”
In addition to emphasizing the need for local control and innovation, the mayors also discussed the importance of economic development tools and state grant programs to help revitalize local communities in every corner of the state.Housing and workforce development are two additional areas the mayors addressed.
“Our cities need more housing of all types and at all price points. Cities are doing all they can to support development locally,” said Kettering Mayor Peggy Lehner. “However, additional collaboration among local and state leaders is necessary to ensure that we are meeting the growing demands of our workforce and addressing the challenges of affordability.”
The mayors also highlighted the need for additional state investments in cities. “We look forward to working with state leaders on the upcoming capital budget and continuing to advocate for increased investments in our communities,” said Fairfield Mayor Mitch Rhodus.
The Ohio Mayors Alliance also announced the election of three new board members. Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb, Fairfield Mayor Mitch Rhodus, and Kettering Mayor Peggy Lehner were elected at the meeting. The trio will join current board members Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther, Findlay Mayor Christina Muryn, Parma Mayor Tim DeGeeter, and Youngstown Mayor Tito Brown. The Board is comprised of four Democrats and three Republicans from cities of varying sizes and different regions of the state.
The following mayors participated in the meeting and press conference:
- Mayor Dan Horrigan, Akron
- Mayor-elect Shammas Malik, Akron
- Mayor Bob Stone, Beavercreek
- Mayor-elect Don Mason, Beavercreek
- Mayor-elect William Sherer, Canton
- Mayor Justin Bibb, Cleveland
- Mayor Kahlil Seren, Cleveland Heights
- Mayor Andrew Ginther, Columbus
- Mayor Don Walters, Cuyahoga Falls
- Mayor Kirsten Holzheimer Gail, Euclid
- Mayor Christina Muryn, Findlay
- Mayor Richard ‘Ike’ Stage, Grove City
- Mayor Tim DeGeeter, Parma
- Mayor David Scheffler, Lancaster
- Mayor-elect Don McDaniel, Lancaster
- Mayor Sharetta Smith, Lima
- Mayor Jack Bradley, Lorain
- Mayor Joe Begeny, Reynoldsburg
- Mayor Rob Rue, Springfield
- Mayor Tito Brown, Youngstown
The Ohio Mayors Alliance is a bipartisan coalition of mayors in Ohio’s 30 largest cities. The group convened its members on Thursday, December 14, and Friday, December 15, 2023, and met with a range of state leaders from the Ohio Department of Public Safety, the Ohio Business Roundtable, JobsOhio, as well as federal partners such as U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown. For more information about the Ohio Mayors Alliance, please visit: OhioMayorsAlliance.org.