Armond Budish, elected as the second Cuyahoga County executive this past November, says job creation and workforce development are the main components of his vision for the county.
Budish will speak at 7 p.m. Thursday at Fairview Park City Hall as the featured guest at the latest in County Councilman Dave Greenspan’s series of town hall meetings.
Greenspan, a Republican, endorsed Budish’s opponent, Jack Schron, in the 2014 race for county executive. But the District 1 councilman said partisan politics is not even discussed when it comes to running Cuyahoga County.
“It’s not germane to the governing of the county,” Greenspan said.
Budish said his focus on economic issues also includes creating a path out of poverty for the county’s poorest residents.
“I view social services part and parcel of economic development,” Budish told West Life. Employees who lack health care are more likely to get sick and miss work, he said. Those without transportation find it harder to be a good employee, he added.
Budish said he also plans to report on his series of meetings with 100 business leaders during his first 100 days in office.
Budish did not support the new form of county government passed by voters in November 2009. The former Ohio House representative said he was concerned that having only one official, the county executive, elected by all county voters, was not a good means of representing the entire county. The previous county government was centered around three county commissioners elected countywide.
However, Budish said his concerns have not materialized.
“Overall, it’s worked very well,” he said of the new form of county government.
The New York University School of Law alumnus served in the Ohio House of Representatives from 2007 to 2014, including a two-year stint as House speaker. Although a resident of Beachwood, Budish said he’s spent a huge amount of time in the county’s western suburbs. Budish noted he’s moving the annual state of the county address to the suburbs this year, a departure from the practice of his predecessor, Ed FitzGerald, who held the event downtown. Sponsored by the City Club of Cleveland, Budish’s annual report is scheduled for 7 p.m. April 15 at the Parma-Snow branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library.
During an appearance before the Fairview Park Democratic Club in August 2013, candidate Budish said Cuyahoga County would be on its own in terms of economic development as long as Republicans controlled the Ohio Legislature.
Asked if he still feels that way, Budish said Cuyahoga County has historically contributed more money to Columbus than it has received. But Budish quickly added he plans to meet with Gov. John Kasich and Republican legislative leaders later this week.
“I hope that we can build a partnership,” Budish said, adding that he intends to report on his meeting with the governor at Thursday’s town hall meeting.