Councilman Jay Westbrook was first sworn in as a Cleveland City Council Member in 1980 and has been re-elected nine times. He also proudly served as President of City Council for 10 years (1990-1999). Councilman Westbrook currently represents Ward 16, an area that consists of Denison, West Boulevard, Cudell and Edgewater neighborhoods on the “mid-west” side of Cleveland.
Councilman Westbrook has been a citizens’ voice for change and he has worked to implement community improvement projects. His theme is “Making City Hall Work for You.” His active partnership with community groups results in funding for community safety programs and neighborhood restoration.
Councilman Westbrook helped form the Midwest Housing Partnership, an organization that promotes the city’s housing code and assists residents with housing issues. He also initiated Safe-16, a public safety program involving residents, First District Police, development and service organizations based upon strong citizen participation in block organizations. Ward 16 is served by Cudell Improvement, Inc., one of the city’s veteran community development organizations.
Councilman Westbrook was the prime sponsor of the “Bank on Cleveland” law that links city deposits with affirmative neighborhood lending. His sponsorship of the municipal “Right-to-Know” law preceded the federal protection of workers and neighborhoods against exposure to hazardous and toxic substances. Councilman Westbrook was one of the founders of an innovative organization called WIRE-Net, which helps small and medium sized industrial firms to expand and stay in Cleveland. Westbrook is a leading advocate for industrial brown field restoration with industrial reuse for job retention and growth. Councilman Westbrook has led Council’s efforts to fight against the foreclosure crisis; he is one of two Council appointments to the county-wide Vacant and Abandoned Properties Action Council (VAPAC).
Councilman Westbrook has undertaken several initiatives to create policy and program reform by opening the doors of government to increased citizen involvement. His focus includes preventing youth violence, solid waste management and recycling, community policing, community based housing code enforcement, and coordinated/holistic services to homeless residents. He also organized the ward “community dialogue” that built citizen involvement and civic capacity. Councilman Westbrook serves as chair of Cleveland City Council’s Personnel and Operations Committee, vice chair of the City Planning Committee and as a member of the Community and Economic Development, Employment, Affirmative Action and Training, Finance and the Public Utilities, and Sustainability sub-committee.
A graduate of the University of Kentucky, Council Member Westbrook received a bachelor’s degree in philosophy with an emphasis on music and education. Before being elected to Council, he worked in community organizing and citizen advocacy, as a veterans’ affairs counselor, a trainer with the American Friends Service Committee and as a community outreach worker for the Legal Aid Society. In addition, Councilman Westbrook was a founder of the Ohio Public Interest Campaign (now called Ohio Citizen Action), a statewide citizens organization with more than 350,000 members.
Councilman Westbrook and his wife live on West 103rd Street. They have two adult daughters.
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- Personnel & Operations - Chair
- City Planning - Vice Chair
- Sustainability - Vice Chair
- Community and Economic Development
- Employment, Affirmative Action and Training
- Public Utilities