In 2001 Chris Ronayne was campaign manager for Jane Campbell, the first woman elected mayor in Cleveland history. At the city of Cleveland, he became Planning Director, where he led several initiatives like the Cleveland Lakefront Plan and the Euclid Corridor. As chief architect of the Cleveland Lakefront Project, he and his team secured hundreds of millions of dollars in state and federal funds. Later, as Chief of Staff and Chief Development Officer, he supervised over 5000 employees and managed a budget of $1.5 billion dollars.

Starting in 2005 and for 16 years, Chris served as the President of University Circle Inc. (UCI), a non-profit community service corporation. Chris achieved real results, transforming Ohio’s education, medical, and cultural district into a thriving complete community. He delivered more than 2,500 new and renovated neighborhood homes to the area, developed after-school and summer programs that engaged more than 10,000 students each year, and connected small businesses to Cleveland’s arts, education, and healthcare institutions. He stepped down from his role at UCI in 2021 to launch his campaign for County Executive. Chris Ronayne is a time-tested leader, he is not a politician but a leader who is ready to listen and lead with compassion and transparency.

The Change We Need

In Cuyahoga County, we take pride in where we live. And there’s a lot to be proud of, from our sports teams to our world-class cultural institutions, our lakefront and our parks, and the neighborhoods that we call home. Chris Ronayne has called Cuyahoga County home for more than 40 years and understands what makes our county such a special place to live. He knows that Cuyahoga contains a tremendous potential, but it needs the type of effective leadership that has been lacking in our county for decades.

Cuyahoga County needs a fresh start and a chance to get back on track. Our County is falling behind similar regions throughout Ohio and the country as a whole: We have a soft economy, violent crime, a high tax burden, harmful racial disparities, stagnant incomes, and concentrated poverty. Our county government has not met the expectations of its residents, and it’s time for a change.

Chris Ronayne will make that change. He is not a politician. As Cleveland’s former planning director, chief development officer, and chief of staff, as well as Chair of the Port of Cleveland, and President of University Circle Inc., he’s led some of Northeast Ohio’s most impactful economic development and community improvement efforts. He will bring that experience to the County government.

Strengthen Our Workforce, Economy; Create Real Opportunity for All

Cuyahoga County is in a decades-long period of economic stagnation. Since the beginning of the 21st Century, Cuyahoga County has lost both jobs and population. But the drop in employment has been steeper than our population loss. Income inequality is growing, further plunging our County into a land of the “have and have nots”, with one key measure of inequality growing by 20 percent since 2010. Our jobs have become geographically dispersed and difficult to access, especially for those living in high-poverty neighborhoods. In our region, the median income of a white resident is twice that of a Black resident, and a Black resident is 1.7 times as likely to be living in poverty as a white resident. We must overcome the historical legacies that have crippled our neighborhoods and cut off avenues of opportunity.

Chris will execute an inclusive countywide economic development program, one that has all of our backs. At University Circle, he led one of the state’s fastest-growing employment centers and led programs that benefited small businesses, including dozens of minority owned businesses. Chris has the experience to bring employers, educators, and labor together in a shared mission to expand good jobs in our county. Our economic future depends on how well we build on our economic strengths and address our weaknesses.

Protect & Leverage Our Lakefront, Rivers, and Our Parks to Promote a High Quality-of-life

When it comes to choosing a location for a business expansion or relocation, taxes are only one factor that a CEO may consider. A region’s quality of life is just as important, if not more so than corporate tax rates. Access to nature and recreation, clean water and air, green neighborhoods, and safe streets all contribute to a high quality of life but are too often overlooked as part of a comprehensive economic development strategy.

Improve Health, Human Services, Transportation Access, and Housing for Kids, Seniors, and Families

Cuyahoga County is unfortunately faced with wide disparities in health, wealth, and well-being. The County’s poverty rate is higher than the national average, as is its infant mortality rate. At the same time, certain Cuyahoga communities are among the wealthiest in the state and saw their incomes and wealth grow substantially over the past decade. Meanwhile, other areas of the County struggle with blight and are in dire need of investment.

Disparities are interrelated with historical racial injustices and discrimination. Black residents have higher rates of infant mortality and are more likely to live in poverty, live in a high-crime neighborhood, and be stuck in low-income occupations. Chris pledges to incorporate a racial justice lens into every program, policy, or practice in County government. It begins with appointing a diverse leadership team and working with community leaders to implement grass-roots solutions to issues facing residents at the neighborhood level.

Reduce Crime and Violence. Increase Equitable Justice for All.

Crime and violence can be reduced with smart, responsive, equitable, and accountable law enforcement. Chris will do everything possible to stop illegal guns, drug trafficking, gangs, and violence against the residents of Cuyahoga County. Chris will find, hire, support, and hold accountable the right chief law enforcement officer and deputies, and provide the right support systems to run an equitable, effective, and efficient corrections system and county jail.

End Dysfunction in Cuyahoga County government and Provide Effective Leadership

Cuyahoga County residents have lost faith in the County government. They are sick and tired of reading headlines about corruption, missteps and dropped 911 calls, issues at DCFS, a sagging economy, and entrenched poverty. The voters went to the polls in 2009 to bring about dramatic change, but since then they’ve been short-changed.

It’s time to deliver the better county government the voters demanded over a decade ago. We need honest, effective, accountable government for change. Chris Ronayne restores confidence in the County government by hiring an effective management team, making the County government work smarter, better, and more efficiently. He will clean up lingering scandals, hire people based on qualifications, end contracting problems, and make sure everyone in the county government plays by the rules.

Chris Ronay and his family

Chris Ronayne and his family: Chris, his wife Natalie, and his two children, Audrey and Joe.

Chris Ronayne with Justin Bibb, Mayor of Cleveland

Chris Ronayne with Justin Bibb, Mayor of Cleveland

Chris Ronayne and Union Workers

Union Workers for Chris Ronayne

Chris Ronayne and volunteers

Christ Ronayne and volunteers