CINCINNATI — For Mayor-elect Aftab Pureval, there is only so much time for celebrating. Cincinnati faces a number of challenges, including increasing gun violence and tens of millions of dollars in possible earnings tax returns for remote workers.
Pureval's campaign had four focuses: affordable housing, criminal justice, environment and economic recovery. Former Mayor Mark Mallory, a supporter and mentor of Pureval's, said the economy will be the mayor-elect's toughest test.
"People have to know that we can do it again, people have got to be able to do big things," Mallory said. "There are great things going on in the city, but he's got the challenge of making sure people are motivated enough to unleash their creativity, their intellect and their money in order to get things done."
Pureval said he knows the deficit the city faces as a result of the earnings tax returns for remote workers is "potentially devastating." While he said he is optimistic there will not be major cuts, Pureval said public safety and basic services would be prioritized.
"When people call the police, they expect them to show up," Pureval said. "When people put out their trash, they expect it to get picked up."
The deficit, Pureval said, puts a bigger focus on the importance of creating "dense, diverse neighborhoods" that make Cincinnati attractive. If working remotely is the future, Pureval said, he wants people to choose Cincinnati as their home base.
"We're very affordable, we've got incredible corporate partners, incredible research institutions, the third best children's hospital in the world, the best public high school in the state," Pureval said. "If you can live and work anywhere, I want you to choose Cincinnati."
While he was not endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police, Pureval said he plans on strengthening his relationship with the FOP to make sure all neighborhoods are safe amid increasing violence.
"The fact that so many of the victims of this gun violence are children, and so many of the perpetrators themselves are children, suggests that this is really a crisis in our community," Pureval said. "We need law enforcement and also social services working hand-in-hand to mitigate this violence."
Pureval will soon get a say in the city's new police chief when Eliot Isaac retires in 2022.
"I'm looking for a law enforcement professional — someone who has done the work, someone who understands the importance of generating trust not just with law enforcement but with our community, someone who understands the fundamentals of the Collaborative Agreement," Pureval said.
In his first 100 days, Pureval said, his team will be "laser focused" on his plans for economic recovery and equity, public safety, environment and affordable housing.
"With a new mayor, a new council, there's a renewed optimism about city government in Cincinnati," Pureval said. "And I'm so grateful to be a part of it."