Bill Wills spoke to Lee Weingart about the election for Cuyahoga County Executive and the campaign Issues
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First as county commissioner from 1995 - 1997 and then in the private sector, Lee Weingart has been fighting for Cuyahoga County for the last 25 years. His experience uniquely positions him to lead Cuyahoga County as its next Executive.
- Eliminating a Massive Budget Deficit: Lee inherited a $120 million budget deficit caused by a county investment scandal. In two years, Lee and his fellow commissioners turned that deficit into a $40 million surplus without raising taxes, by cutting non-essential spending by 11% and reducing the bureaucracy by 800 positions through attrition and a voluntary buyout.
- Improving the County’s Credit: Lee re-established the county’s credit rating, which had fallen because of an investment scandal (that predated Lee’s time in office) and a potential budget deficit, within nine months of taking office. When Lee left office, the county was positioned to pay off all its debt. Today, Cuyahoga County government debt is $1.4 billion.
- Bringing the Browns Back to Cleveland: Lee personally led the campaign to extend the excise (“sin”) tax to raise money to keep the Browns in Cleveland. That campaign resulted in passage of the extension by 72%. After the Browns moved to Baltimore, Lee represented Cuyahoga County in efforts to bring NFL football back to Cleveland. The extension of the sin tax was a major factor in the NFL’s decision to bring back the Browns in 1999.
- Leading Ethically: Lee brings an unrelenting commitment to ethics and integrity. There were no scandals during Lee’s tenure as commissioner.
As a government relations expert, Lee continued to support Cuyahoga County through his company, LNE Group, which he founded in 2002 and where serves as president today: