Having been elected to Cleveland's City Council at age
23, Dennis J. Kucinich was well-known to Cleveland residents when
they chose him as their mayor in 1977 at the age of 31. At the time,
Kucinich was the youngest person ever elected to lead a major
In 1978, Cleveland's banks demanded that he sell the city's
70 year-old municipally-owned electric system to its private
competitor (in which the banks had a financial interest) as a
precondition of extending credit to city government.
When Mayor Kucinich refused to sell Muny Light, the
banks took the unprecedented step of refusing to roll over the
city's debt, as is customary. Instead, they pushed the city into
default. It turned out the banks were thoroughly interlocked with
the private utility, CEI, which would have acquired monopoly status
by taking over Muny Light. Five of the six banks held almost 1.8
million shares of CEI stock; of the 11 directors of CEI, eight were
also directors of four of the six banks involved.
By holding to his promise and putting principle above
politics, Kucinich lost his reelection bid and his political career
was temporarily derailed. But today, Kucinich stands vindicated for
having confronted the Enron of his day, and for saving the municipal
power company. "There is little debate," wrote Cleveland Magazine in
May 1996, "over the value of Muny Light today. Now Cleveland Public
Power, it is a proven asset to the city that between 1985 and 1995
saved its customers $195,148,520 over what they would have paid CEI."
He also preserved hundreds of union jobs.
In addition to being Mayor of Cleveland, Kucinich has
served on the Cleveland City Council (t970-75, t981-82); served as
the Clerk of Courts for the Cleveland Municipal Court (1976-77);
been an Ohio State Senator (1994-96); and in November 2004, was
elected to his fifth term as a Member of the United States House of
Kucinich was born in Cleveland, Ohio on October 8,
1946. He is the eldest of 7 children of Frank and Virginia Kucinich.
He and his family lived in twenty-one places by the time Kucinich
was 17 years old. Kucinich graduated with a Bachelor of Arts and a
Masters in Speech Communications from Case Western Reserve
University, Cleveland, Ohio in 1974.
Kucinich has held many jobs outside of politics
including being a hospital orderly, newspaper copy boy, teacher,
consultant, television analyst and author. Since being elected to
Congress in 1996, Kucinich has been a tireless advocate for worker
rights, civil rights and human rights.
In Congress, Kucinich has authored and co-sponsored
legislation to create a national health care system, preserve Social
Security, lower the costs of prescription drugs, provide economic
development through infrastructure improvements, abolish the death
penalty, provide universal prekindergarten to all 3, 4, and 5 year
olds, create a Department of Peace, regulate genetically engineered
foods, repeal the USA PATRIOT Act, and provide tax relief to working
Kucinich has been honored by Public Citizen, the Sierra Club,
Friends of the Earth and the League of Conservation Voters as a
champion of clean air, clean water and an unspoiled earth. Kucinich
has twice been an official United States delegate to the United
Nations Convention on Climate Change (1998, 2004) and attend the
2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South
In his district, Kucinich has been recognized by the Greater
Cleveland AFL-CIO as a tireless advocate for the social and economic
interests of his community.
Kucinich ted the effort to save Cleveland's 90 year-old
steel industry and the thousands of jobs and retiree benefits it
provides. While hundreds of community hospitals have been closed
throughout the country, Kucinich ted a community based effort to
reopened two Cleveland neighborhood hospitals.
Kucinich worked with the nation's largest railroads to
create a merger agreement that improved rail safety while diverting
a heavy volume of train traffic away from heavily populated
residential areas of his district.
In Cleveland, Kucinich has been honored by the
Cleveland AFL-CIO, the Ohio PTA, the NASA Glenn Research Center, the
Salvation Army, the United States Post Office, the Department of
Veterans Affairs, Ohio Department of Jobs and Familv Services,
Ohio's Boys Town, and the Human Riqhts Campaign.
Kucinich is a current member of The International
Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians,
Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States (IATSE), an AFL-CIO
affiliated union.Dennis's wife