Arts & Leisure
Calendar of Events
House, Home & Family
Special Offers/Store
Veterans, Police/Fire, US
About Us
Search ClevelandPeople
Cleveland Speakers

Jane Campbell
First Female Mayor of Cleveland Ohio

Jane was born May 19, 1953 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Her parents were both college students at the time she was born. "My mother was a senior and had me just as she was supposed to graduate so she didn't walk across the stage. My dad was finishing law school."

Her father passed the bar in both Ohio and Michigan and came to Ohio because the Cleveland law firm that offered him a job offered him $5,000 versus the $4,000 offered by the Detroit firm.

The family started in Euclid, Ohio in Benton Village apartment complex, which was "full of children and lots of fun." The family stayed in Benton Village until Jane was about 5 when they moved to Shaker Heights, where she started school. "I have great memories - you know little kid memories… There were mobs of little kids and we just ran around like crazy". Jane was the middle of three children.

Jane Campbell in 2008

Jane went through the Shaker Heights public school system all the way through high school graduation in 1971. In her class were Peter Lawson Jones, Marcia Fudge, Angie Stokes and Walton Benjamin. "That was the class of '71."

You may not think of Jane Campbell as a sportswoman, but she certainly was, and in fact, still is. Her problem was that she went to college pre-Title IX. [Simply stated, Title IX prohibited any school receiving government money from participating in any educational program or activity. It says, "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance." Although Title IX does not specifically mention athletics or sports, it is generally viewed as the open door for women to become involved in school athletics at the same level and with the same support as the men]

See Billie Jean King in Cleveland talking about Title IX.

In those days, "the deal was that the girls were allowed to practice during the time the meals were served. It was the only time the girls had access to the fields because the boys had to eat. Mind you the girls had to eat too, so we had to choose to eat in the dorms or go to practice so we had to figure out another way to get our meal."

Jane Campbell at a Glenville High School game

Jane graduated in 1974 and Title IX went into effect in 1975.

Many years later, while serving as Mayor of Cleveland, Jane received a letter to University Michigan alumni requesting a donation. The difference was, this letter started out "Dear Michigan Letter Winner" She wrote the school and explained that she never got a letter, but thought it was fascinating that Michigan had kept the records from that time and knew, in essence, who had qualified for letters, had such a thing been acceptable. She told the school that she believed a number of women were qualified and should have been given letters and asked them to consider presenting them now.

Mary Sue Coleman, President of University of Michigan came to see Jane while she was on a fund raising junket. Jane told Coleman the story and Coleman agreed that something should be done. In September 2007, nearly 100 women were awarded letters at a ceremony on the field. The oldest woman was 85.

"When women's sports first went into affect after Title IX, Beau Shambleck, who was the football coach, was dead set against women getting letters. Bad enough they should play. It would somehow diminish the value of the block "M". "

Jane Campbell Michigan letter

Jane has her letter proudly displayed on her office wall as a reminder to her how far women have come. "When you are fighting the fight and think you're not getting anywhere I see that letter". Her daughter played both Field Hockey and Lacrosse for Shaker and her best friend was recruited by University of Michigan on a field hockey scholarship and today is captain of the team. "I was crying [when the recruiter came]."

Jane Campbell with volunteers of Computers Assisting People at a new community computer lab on Kinsman

Jane Campbell with volunteers of Computers Assisting People at a new community computer lab on Kinsman

"Marcia [Fudge] and I played sports. Of course then, The Ohio High School Athletic Association did not permit girls to compete. It would be bad for us. So we had volunteer coaches after school and we weren't supposed to keep score. There were a couple other schools that had teams so we had them over for cookies and milk and we played games."

"We were frustrated but we were more upset about the fact that we were graded in gym based on whether or not we washed and ironed our gym suits." Jane and her classmates got graded weekly on her washing and ironing accomplishments. She remembers that the only place you could buy the uniforms was Nichols Sporting Goods.

Field Hockey, Volleyball, Basketball - Marcia and Jane played it all together, and Jane also swam.

There was discussion at the time about Title IX so Jane was aware of it, but more focused on studying, dating, practicing etc. She played and wanted to win and had a good time, but was not too concerned about all the Title IX talk, because at her age the focus was more on the present than "some day".

Jane participated in synchronized swimming. Of course, the sexism of the day played a part in this as well. In order to get pool time, they had to swim when the boys were not using the pool. "So we had a lot of very early times."

Jane was also a swim timer. "...These were outfits that can not even be imagined. We had to sew our own little culottes… red with white fishes… and then we timed the boys… it was a big deal… we were the cat's pajamas."

Jane says her children can not relate at all to her stories. They both play sports and cannot imagine a time when sports where the way Jane describes them. In fact, her daughter, Jessie, laughingly calls her a patsy because Jane will give her anything she says she needs for sports, because Jane just can't believe the opportunity her daughter has. She does not want to do anything to risk this wonderful experience for her. Her younger daughter is the Lacrosse goalie for Claremont College in California.

Jane worked as a lifeguard in the summers, at Canterbury Country Club. "I had the cushiest job ever. They had a deal with the school that they [the swimming coaches] would pick the lifeguards. So they had 3 boys and 2 girls and the coach was a supervisor of sorts." It was important to the coach that the boys stay in shape, so all of the life guards had to swim a mile every day during rest periods. "I was never in such good shape in my life."

Jane still loves to swim, but doesn't have the access or time she would like. She swam a lot while she was pregnant with Jessica (now 21). "I actually went into labor while I was swimming… I had the good sense to get out of the pool. I was in labor for 3 days."

Jane Campbell and her mother Joan Brown Campbell

Jane Campbell and her mother Joan Brown Campbell

Jane's mother was an ordained minister. They were very involved in the church growing up. It was in this context that Jane got involved in politics. "I was probably 13 before I realized not everybody sorted voter registration cards in their living room after school."

"First campaign I worked on was Carl Stokes'. I was 12 or 13. I was a cute little white kid with blond hair. I knocked on doors on the West Side "vote for my friend Carl Stokes…"

Jane Campbell tells a class of Cleveland High School Girls
how to get involved in politics and
the role that money plays in politics.

She had the opportunity to meet Martin Luther King. Her mother invited him to their Church, which was a white suburban church. It was the first time King had been invited to a white church. It became hugely contentious. "People were calling in bomb threats. My mother reacted like anyone. They [the police] would come to search the house and she'd say 'clean up under your beds... I don't believe there's a bomb and the Shaker Heights police will not see what a wreck your room is.' " Jane notes that now everyone thinks of King as an American hero, but no one really appreciates or even acknowledges how wildly controversial it was at the time.

"He came and he was great, I remember he had a cold and a fever. He was tired. My mom was making sure he had chicken soup… Very much of a person. Not like a historical figure."

Jane still goes to that Church, Heights Christian Church on the corner of Van Aken and Avalon.

Jane finished Michigan in 3 years because she had some advance placement credits, but also because she spent a summer in school at the University of China at Hong Kong. It was 1971, I wanted to get out of school and do something. I was very interested in Asian studies."

Jane Campbell speaks to Cleveland future leader high school girls

Jane Campbell speaks to Cleveland
Future Leader high school girls

They were supposed to be the first student group into mainland China, but right before they were set to go China announced the death of Linn Baio and they [the students] were not allowed in. "The only people they allowed in were what they called Overseas Chinese. We would call them Chinese-Americans."

There was a major concern involving Jane's roommate on the trip who was, in fact, Chinese-American. Jane had a laundry list of instructions if her roommate was not allowed out. She was a graduate student in chemistry and China was very anxious to have educated persons. The roommate got out without a problem and Jane has some wonderful memories of her time in China.

Jane's first degree was in American History. She was always very involved in women's studies, even though there was nothing really called that at the time. Jane was involved in actually starting the Women's Studies program at the University of Michigan. When she attended Michigan, there was an investigation underway by the HEW (Health, Education and Welfare Department). They were investigating charges that The University was discriminating against women in academics.

As an example "they had an endowed professorship endowed by somebody to have a woman teach European History and it had been vacant for years. They argued that there was no competent woman."

This is when Jane got involved, and in her second year of college, she became a teaching assistant, focusing on adding women's history to the curriculum. "So I actually was a teaching fellow teaching woman's history."

Once again, her children can not imagine a time when a college campus did not have women's studies and history as basic curriculum.

Jane joined Volunteers in Service to America and went to Racine Wisconsin where she worked with neighborhood development and advocacy for people on welfare and quality child care. "These are issues that I've been working on ever since."

After Racine, Jane came back to Cleveland. It was 1975, the International Year of the Woman. The Convention Center had a huge celebration and the hopes were that something positive and permanent would come out of this. Jane was hired to put together a coalition that would create a women's center and an advocacy entity.

"It was amazing. We got every different organization. The Junior League and "dykes" These were women that had not previously had a lot of interaction… It was great because they came together around being women."

Women who had banded together on their own were now joining there causes and careers with other women. The groups were diverse and included secretaries, Westshore Mothers of Twins, Domestics, American Association of University Women, and many more. There were over 50 groups, plus individuals, that joined this coalition.

Jane Campbell and two other women

The group was called, Woman Space because "it was the space that brought us together". Jane remembers there was so much to do. At the time, The Rape Crisis Center was a volunteer phone line. Volunteers used call forwarding to take calls in their homes and direct rape victims to the hospital. It was the goal of Woman Space to give The Rape Crisis Center the help it needed to become a professional organization that could actually help women.

Jane says there was nothing for battered women and, in fact, battering was not even an accepted term. Jane organized a Speak Out to let women know they were not alone and empower them through their numbers. "When we announced we were doing this the phones rang and rang. Now, remember I'm like 25 years old and I'm an activist. Women were telling their stories. I called [the president of their organization] and said I don't know what you're doing but … you're going to come over and help me answer these phones. We stayed until midnight. There were two lines coming into the office. They were constantly busy." She says so many woman were just thrilled to have people believe them and to know they were not alone. In the beginning, people were taking the women into their homes until shelters could be arranged. Jane likens it to an underground railroad. Through the coalition, she with the help of a small group of women activist Jane was able to raise the funds needed to build a shelter.

"Ours was the first shelter for battered women in Ohio. The second in the country. The first in the country was in Minneapolis." Dick Celeste was Lt. Governor at the time, and the first shelter was actually his personal home on Lake Avenue which he rented to the group. "A lot of people just put themselves into it full time."

In the meantime, Women Space was also working on other causes for women. A group of secretaries was just starting their own advocacy group 9 to 5. At the same time the movie starring Jane Fonda, Dolly Parton and Lilly Tomlin was about to be filmed.

Jane Fonda came to their office to meet the secretaries and spent a lot of time talking to everyday secretaries, learning about their lives and their day-to-day jobs. "A lot of the things were then incorporated into the movie."

Her group also created a data base of women and their qualifications so that the excuse "there are no qualified women" when it came time to hire, appoint or promote, was no longer valid.

Mayor Jane Campbell and high school girls

Mayor Jane Campbell with future leader girls
from Carl F. Schuler High School

Jane's title at Woman Space coalition was Executive Director. From 1974 to the end of 1979, Jane worked with Woman Space. At the same time, she attended Cleveland State at night and earned a Masters Degree in Urban Studies. "I wanted to understand how the community worked." Plus, she says, people always said she was too young. She couldn't do anything about that, but she could mitigate the effect by being more educated and getting another degree.

She was then recruited to go to Washington as Field Director of a group called ERA America, who was tasked with passing the Equal Rights Amendment. "I watched it get defeated in 12 states. It was very very sad."

She doesn't believe the ERA would pass today either. "Because the same forces of misinformation are still around. Phyllis Schlafly and her crowd were the lead opponents to the amendment… they created a parade of horribles." Jane says they also knew that much of the funding against it came from insurance companies who had a pattern of giving less coverage to women, because they live longer.

Until June 30, 1982 (deadline to pass ERA), Jane worked in Washington. She got to see state legislatures up close. "The closer you get to government, the more you can say I can do this."

When she came back, she was able to get a job as Executive Director of The Friends of Shaker Square (the neighborhood economic development office).

"I have not moved very far. The house I grew up in… is probably 2 miles from where I live now and where I lived when I was mayor, after I got divorced I moved around the corner. I love Shaker Square. I just love it."

While she was there among Jane accomplished a lot including establishing the entire district on the Historical Registry. "It is the largest concentration of apartment units between New York and Chicago." She kept this office for two years, until 1984.

In 1984, Mary Boyle who was in the State Legislature, came to her and told her she was going to run for County Commissioner and thought Jane should run for her seat. Jane had been working on campaigns and doing a lot of behind-the-scenes activities and protested to Mary that her work in the background was too important and effective to give up. Mary reminded her of how often Jane had told women they should run for office.

It was a highly contested race because it was an open seat. Three people ultimately ran, including Jane. She won and went on to serve 6 terms in the Ohio House of Representatives. "I had a really good run there."

Jane Campbell in Plain Dealer Sunday Magazine

Plain Dealer Sunday Magazine - 'Jane and the Boys'

She served on the Finance Committee, chaired the Children and Youth Committee and, was elected nationally as president National Conference of State Legislators. At that time there were nine women out of 99 legislators.

"I got elected November 8 and married December 8. Only someone who had not done either of those things would have done that." Of course, Jane knew she was getting married in December, but with all the commotion with the election, she did not get her invitations out until after the election. "So the Committee to elect Jane Campbell became the Committee to Marry Jane Campbell."

Jane met her husband, Hunter, while they were both working on Ed Feighan's campaign for mayor in 1977. They were married at Trinity Cathedral. Governor Dick Celeste was there as well as George Voinovich, whom Hunter was working for. The joke was not "bride's side or grooms side" but "Democrat or Republican".

Jane learned early on that once you are in the legislature you want to figure out where the money is. In your first term you won't be on the finance committee, because that is where they actually spend money. She explained however, that the Ways and Means Committee made the tax policies, so this was a good place to be.

Her passion was always Women, Seniors and Children's issues, but she knew to be taken seriously she had to have a more diverse repertoire in the Legislature. As a result of her position on the Ways and Means Committee, she was able to carry the financing package for Gateway (sin tax) to the Finance Committee and ultimately get the project approved.

Mayor Jane Campbell, Governor Bob Taft and President George W Bush

Mayor Jane Campbell, Governor Bob Taft
and President George W Bush

"It was important for me because it really did help me to set a direction and establish some credibility in a larger world. Baseball is a boy's thing. Taxes are a boy's thing. Taxes for baseball - definitely a boy's thing."

By her second term, Jane was on the Finance committee, though her appointment was iffy. Not because she was not capable, but rather because she was pregnant ("On purpose, with my husband. No one was pulling out calendars. We were married for two years.")

The Speaker of the House, Vern Riffe, was, as Jane described him "a good ol' boy" who she knew would never appoint her if he knew she was pregnant. So she didn't tell him. Appointments are usually made in January, but this year it was put off until February 15. The Speaker was happy with the appointment telling her, "I didn't used to think there was any place for women in this body. I've found out a few things. One - sometimes they can win an election when the guys can't and second, they're really not that bad. So I've kinda gotten used to them being around. If we're going to have a woman around it might as well be you."

Jane Campbell with volunteer Ken Eskridge of Computers Assisting People at a new community computer lab on Kinsman

Jane Campbell with volunteer Ken Eskridge of Computers Assisting People at a new community computer lab on Kinsman
Her baby was due May 15. Jane took to wearing oversized clothes to the point where a fellow legislator suggested she stop eating so much at all of the receptions.

After the appointment, Jane went to talk to the Speaker and told him. After his shock he called the head of the Ohio State Medical School to be sure there was a doctor who could take care of her if needed. Jane and the Speaker became good friends. In fact, he wanted her to run against Voinovich in '99. "Honey, I think you should be governor."

She went back to Columbus when her baby was just 2 weeks old because of a crisis in the Finance Committee concerning pre-natal health care. "She's two week sold. We looked like the …Beverly Hillbillies. The baby was 8 pounds. I had a crib and a stroller and a swing ... all this stuff."

Jane was able to enact a line-item veto from the governor which allowed the bill to pass. Jessica (and later her sister Katie) are both able to say they were nursed in Committee of the Ohio Legislature.

Bipartisan Group of Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones, Governor Bob Taft, Senator George Voinovich, Jane Campbell, Peter Lawson Jones and others applaud a deal

Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones, Governor Bob Taft, Senator George Voinovich, Jane Campbell, Peter Lawson Jones and others applaud an agreement.

Jane developed an expertise in human service and health care. In 1994, Democrats lost the majority of the legislature. By that time, her children were 5 and 7 and both in school. She served one term in the minority (after being in the majority for 10 years) and found it was very frustrating "it was like driving down to Columbus just to complain."

She decided it was time for a change. Lee Weingart had been appointed Cuyahoga Commissioner and she decided to run against him, in 1996. She won the election and proceeded to spend the next 5 years as a Commissioner.

County Commissioner Jane Campbell

County Commissioner Jane Campbell

Three things happened quickly during this time. Welfare Reform was passed as Federal Law and 24,000 people needed to find work quickly. There was money for training and classes and "we were really changing people's lives for the better."

The second was the creation of a major investment, Brownfield Remediation Loan Fund

The third was what is now-called "Invest in Children" which was a comprehensive program of visitation for every new born child from Glenville to Chagrin Falls.

Jane had just gotten re-elected by a very good margin in 2000, when even to her own surprise, she found herself running for mayor. "Mike White had gotten controversial… by his third term he was just exhausted…"

She announced her candidacy in July and ran along with nine others. The primary was the first week in October - immediately following September 11th.

The morning of September 11th, one of the TV stations was going to do profiles of each of the candidates alphabetically. She was at the station at 5:45 a.m. and then at 7 had a staff meeting and then had a meeting at 8:00. After that meeting, a little after 9, she went out to get her car and for the first time knew what was going on. She heard the second tower get hit, live on the radio.

Jane was a sitting county commissioner so she went directly to the county to determine what had to be done. "In those days not everybody had cable. I walked in and nobody knew what was going on. They were calling people for money and getting volunteers and I told them stop." She then explained what was going on.

It was announced that Bishop Pilla would be saying a Mass at the Cathedral and Jane, though she was not Catholic, decided to go and many of her staff members went with her. "The Mass was packed. I remember him being very good, but I also remember him being at a loss for words."

September 11th was also her daughters 12th birthday. Jane tried to reach her brother, Paul, who lived in New York, but communications were out. Her other brother was in Seattle and planes weren't flying for days. Thankfully, her family was fine.

There was no campaigning for about ten days. There were a number of panels, but even as a candidate, she thought they were boring because so many people were running. She missed one of the panels and everyone was "up-in-arms" because she chose to stay with her family instead. She quickly dispelled their concerns by explaining that if she were Mayor, with a responsibility, she would meet that challenge. As a candidate in a very difficult time, she took the opportunity to be with her family instead. The County had emergency teams in place from day one, so she was not concerned on that level.

Jane was elected, took office and "immediately found out we had a $60 million dollar deficit and a completely demoralized operation. There was one major development project in the pipeline - that was Arbor Park. That was it. So the first two years I really spent cleaning house. There were two investigations under way - one in government housing and one in the water department where there were improprieties. "

By the time she left there were $3 billion dollars in development projects under way including The Flats East Bank project, East 4th Street development, Euclid Avenue Corridor, The project on 12th street, Cleveland Clinic Heart Structure, Steelyard Commons and others.

"We created a focus on technology that had never existed before. We got involved with One Cleveland. We were the first public entity to participate in One Cleveland. And those things are now going on."

Jane Campbell speaks to Cleveland future leader high school girls

Jane Campbell speaks to Cleveland
Future Leader high school girls

But not everything was rosy. With the major deficit, layoffs ultimately came about and this brought about many hard feelings. There were always race issues to deal with and then of course there were two major issues during her term. The first was the shooting at Case Western Reserve; the second was the black out. "Oh yes, I remember both of those very well."

Jane says there are two people you never want to walk into your office unexpected when you are mayor -"the finance director and the safety guy. When either of them walk in… they never come with good news."

The Safety Director came in and explained the message on his blackberry "Hostages at Case. Armed suspect. Situation out of control."

Jane called the President at Case (Edward Hundert) and explained the problem to him. She went to him and they were briefed together. "Cleveland's SWAT team is the most sophisticated so they did the inside. Euclid did the perimeter and Sheriff did the rest,"

As Mayor, she was hugely impressed by the SWAT teams, all police departments and even the 93 people inside. They received messages on their cell phones with status reports from people inside. Ultimately, the SWAT team moved the people down and the shooter up. "It was so sophisticated… "

They set up a room for families and brought in counselors. They briefed the family every hour, followed by a media briefing. One man died. There were no other casualties. Jane went to the hospital and met the woman who had raised the victim as her son. Jane called Bishop Ellis, the police chaplain to be with her and he was there within ten minutes. "I will never forget that."

The other major event was the blackout. Jane was proud of being able to secure Continental Airlines as a hub in Cleveland. She, along with the Airport director, her finance director and law director all went to Houston for the signing of the contract. When she returned that same day, they were told there was a slight problem with the tunnel and they couldn't deplane right away.

She called her office and her Chief of Staff told her she convened everybody into the Red Room. Jane knew this had to be big. Her Chief of Staff told her no one knew why but there was no power between Chicago and New York.

Jane had them open the doors of the plane and she made her way back to City Hall in a police cruiser. They even had to crash through gates because they were controlled electronically. The White House called and said she had to explain to the people that it was not a terrorist attack. Being August, it stayed light a little longer and they held a press conference. The Water Department Director told her they only had water for 3 ½ more hours in the Heights because it is electricity that pumps water up the hill.

Arrangements were made with the media for hourly briefings. Prior to one briefing, the Mayor did not take the time to re-fresh her makeup, which resulted in people calling in thinking there was something she was holding back.

"We had no looting. None!.. People were calling and saying Mayor… tell everybody that over on 150th … everybody bringing meat.. we're going to have a big barbecue… It was like a huge massive block party. This is a remarkable city. It was so amazing."

Cleveland Mayor Jane Campbell at the Podium

The other terribly dramatic event was the East 83rd Street fire where nine children died. She received that call from her Safety Director while she was still asleep. She was there for hours just sharing with the family and neighbors and having prayer circles. I had to go back and talk to each family and tell them it was arson. It was terrible. "

"There was a lot of tragedy but the development stuff was fun."

Jane Campbell and Senator John Kerry

Jane Campbell and Senator John Kerry

During her term she also created a sister city in Ireland, twinning with Achill Island in County Mayo. Steve Mulloy raised all of the money needed to send her to Ireland and she remembers this as one of the highlights of her career. "I was a complete celebrity." So much of the things they have on Achill have been sent by people in Cleveland, including ambulances and even the stain glass windows in the churches. So to have the Mayor of Cleveland in their midst was a huge honor.

Jane had two major "scandals" while she was in office. One was when her husband used her car. She explains that the car was part of the "package" of being Mayor. Letting him drive it should not have been an issue. The second scandal was "while I was protecting my children." The police called Jane on a regular basis letting her know what was going on because her kids had been threatened often. People actually went to jail for threats, one of whom sent her a letter of apology as recently as a few months ago.

The police gave her kids protection and "Channel 19 made this big thing out of it. Look where they went! They went to the Mall! They went for ice cream! I finally said to one reporter I can get a new job, I can't get new children. If people don't want to support me because I protect my children that's a risk I'm going to take."

Jane Campbell and daughter with Martin Sheen

Jane Campbell and daughter with Martin Sheen

When re-election came up, Jane did not hesitate to run again. She had put her heart and soul into her term and wanted to continue. The result was not positive however. "It was one of the most heartbreaking things that I lost that election. … I think my second term would have been much better… We had just started putting together police training on the use of force… After I lost … we did one of the finest transition books ever. When I came in there was no transition book… I left a 400 page book"

Jane and her staff explained everything about where things were, what the next steps should be and any and all information that may be helpful to the new mayor.

Many of Jane's cabinet people were retained, which affirmed and recognized that her administration was working as best as possible for the City of Cleveland.

Jane Campbell at Harvard

Jane Campbell at Harvard

Jane then went and taught at Harvard for six months. "You can only have one mayor at a time. Whenever I was here, people would ask what I thought about this or that… I want Frank Jackson to succeed. I live in this town. I own property in this town. I want him to succeed. I'm not going to be the person that sits around and criticizes"

If the right opportunity came around, Jane would run again. "There is nothing more fulfilling than public service. Nothing. Probably nothing more frustrating, You're going to get criticized for every decision. Second guessed at every point."

Cleveland Mayor Jane Campbell and Rita Singh in front of the Taj Mahal

Jane Campbell and Rita Singh in front of the Taj Mahal in 2006

When she came back to Cleveland, she started a consulting firm and worked briefly with Cathy Horton and Beta Strategies and finally she went to work for Colliers International and is now Managing Director of Public Sector Solutions working with corporate clients. Goodyear is one of her largest clients She also does real estate work for Goodyear's Asia Pacific group and corporate real estate for A. Schulman. She also does consulting work with North Ridgeville and Mayfield Heights concerning their economic developments.

"Very different…. Very interesting… and in some way not different at all. Economic development is what interests me."

President Bill Clinton and Jane Campbell

President Bill Clinton and Jane Campbell

Jane talked a bit about the people she had contact with during her terms. "Fannie Lewis was great. I loved Fannie Lewis. She had her hot and cold moments with me as she did with everybody. Fannie had a mission for her community. That mission was that Hough was going be a place that people wanted to be and still be respectful of the people who had been there all along. She took people by the hand and said this was gonna happen and .. the place is different for her having been there."

On Mike White she says he was "a strong leader for this community in his first two terms. I think there were issues in his 3rd terms… and a lot were relationship issues, but I think that he made a contribution."

As for Dennis Kucinich, "You cannot beat Dennis Kucinich as a community organizer… He'll tell you that he was really young when he was mayor and if he was a little older he would have done it a little differently. On the other hand, he fought to keep Cleveland Public Power and he was right. I think his voice is valuable. "

As for the county, Jane would prefer to see a county executive rather than three people. "This system was not decided by a mother. You never let your kids have two friends over on the same day. It always comes down to two against one."

She sees regionalism as the way to go, but acknowledges that without focus on education and safety forces it would never really happen. She says Cleveland police and fire are better prepared, equipped and then any of the suburbs. But Cleveland does not have great schools. If the schools and safety forces were truly pooled and only the best used, it would be successful. "57 municipalities. 57 mayors. 57 fire chiefs… It's not very efficient."

"George Forbes I think is a terrific person who has been extremely consistent for as long as I have known him. He has dedicated his life to making sure that African Americans have every opportunity to participate in the American dream. He's done it and he's still doing it to this day."

Frank Jackson? "Frank's a different mayor than I am. He worked very closely with me when I was first elected. We had to make very tough decisions about the budget. He did not overly politicize it. He worked through some issues and that was very helpful. He and I had some disagreements about the Euclid Avenue corridor. He felt that I should have somehow been able to get the Federal Government to let us use our city residence law even though the federal government said it was against the law… He felt that somehow… I wasn't respecting his wishes. Once he decided that, there wasn't any other way to go."

Jane went on to talk about her impression of George Voinovich. "George Voinovich is a good man. He was my husband's boss. He had the privilege of being mayor when there was actual money being invested in the city…Ronald Reagan wanted to invest money in the city because here was a Republican Mayor in a swing state. He did a good job as mayor, I think he did. He's always been a fundamentally decent person."

Jane remembers how hard she and others worked to have Stephanie Tubbs Jones as prosecutor. "It's interesting that the media now says the community called on Stephanie to be prosecutor. Oh, give me a break! It was war to get her to be the prosecutor. We had a huge floor fight within the Democratic Party… It was really close… Winning that one was a huge win"

On one side, carrying the banner for Stephanie was Jane along with Fannie Lewis, Jay Westbrook and Jimmy Dimora. Leading the opposition was Bill Mason and John T. Corrigan, who wanted his son appointed.

Jane was disappointed when Stephanie did not endorse her for mayor. In the last nine months before she died, Stephanie went out of her way to talk to Jane and try to work with her. The night before she died, Jane and Stephanie were together. They were sitting at a friend's house with a few others drinking wine and talking "like girlfriends."

"Stephanie is a real heartbreak."

Jane would like to be remembered as the one "who got the lake front development started, re-claimed the flats as a place to live and work and play and restored the fiscal integrity of the city so we could rebuild it."

Jane Campbell tells a class of Cleveland High School Girls about handling political pressure and if she will run for office again.

Regrets? She has a few, but not many. One of them is that she speaks only English. "It makes me crazy. Some people can hear a language and pick it up - it's just not my gift."

Many people talk about Women's Issues. Equality. Childcare. Others like to talk about Cleveland and Development and Financial responsibility. There are certain politically correct buzz words that politicians use to get votes.

What makes Jane Campbell different is that she has actually devoted her life to these causes. She has "walked the talk" of these politicians and become the spokesperson for tens of thousands of people. As a mother, she grieved with the mother of the shooting victim. As an activist, she spent countless hours fighting for her cause and educating people. As a woman of faith, she joined prayer circles with the families of the nine children who died. As a State Legislator, she represented Cleveland with pride and stamina. As a County Commissioner, she started programs to help the region grow and helped us through September 11th. As Mayor, she took all of her knowledge, faith, skills and commitment and brought Cleveland into an era of rebuilding and growth.

Jane Campbell in her office in 2008

Many politicians have held their positions longer - but few have the allegiance and dedication to her causes, as does Jane Campbell.

As with all public figures, some may disagree with her politics, but few, if any, could argue her heart and her motivation.

Profiled by Debbie Hanson - September 2008

Top of Page

Back to Profiles of Cleveland Seniors

First Female Cleveland Mayor Jane Campbell

Sign up for our free eNewsletter sent about once every 2 months with special offers, discounts, contests and more specifically for Cleveland area Seniors and Baby Boomers.

Follow ClevelandBoomer on Twitter
Follow us on Twitter

In Association with Amazon.com

Copyright © 2010-2020 ClevelandSeniors.Com. All Rights Reserved.
Questions or Comments? E-Mail us at: