Frank G. Jackson has been the mayor of Cleveland since 2005 and has the distinction of being only the second mayor in Cleveland history to serve three terms.
Early Years: Frank George Jackson was born on October 4, 1946, the son of an African-American father and an Italian-American mother. He grew up in Cleveland’s Kinsman and Central neighborhoods. He attended Cleveland public schools and graduated from Max S. Hayes High School. He served in the United States Army during the Vietnam War.
Jackson earned his associate’s degree from Cuyahoga Community College. He also attended Cleveland State University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Urban Studies and History, a master’s degree in Urban Affairs, and a law degree, the latter while working and raising his family. Jackson and his wife Edwina have a large family with children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren – many of whom reside in Cleveland. Jackson has lived within the city limits all his life.
Civic Involvement: He began his public service career as an assistant city prosecutor in the Cleveland Municipal Court Clerk’s Office. From 1990 through 2005, Jackson served on Cleveland City Council, representing the 5th Ward. During his last three years on council, he was council president. Known for his steady demeanor and neighborhoods-first approach, he led efforts to bring in substantial community investments that helped stabilize and improve his ward.
Terms as Mayor: Jackson was elected Cleveland’s 56th mayor on November 8, 2005. He unseated incumbent Jane Campbell, in a 55 percent to 45 percent vote, and became the first sitting member of city council to become mayor since 1867.
Jackson was re-elected twice, both by wide margins. In 2009, with 77 percent of the vote, Jackson defeated former Cleveland City Councilman Bill Patmon. In 2013, Jackson was reelected over businessman Kenneth Lanci, receiving 66 percent of the vote.
The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History characterizes the Jackson mayoral administration as providing “stability amid difficult economic times.” His focus continues to be on ensuring an excellent quality of life for every resident, business and visitor. Key areas of progress involve new investments in city neighborhoods, ongoing school reform, sound fiscal management and cost control, and partnerships to enhance the health and safety of citizens and the sustainability of the city.
On November 7, 2017, Jackson was elected a fourth term as mayor, unprecedented in the city’s history.