Cleveland Heights Vice Mayor Phyllis Evans is running for re-election this fall.
Evans, who has been on council since 1993, said it was important to her to continue to serve the city she loves and has lived in for 35 years.
“I think I have a voice that really represents a huge segment of our population. And that voice needs to be heard,” said Evans, 66. “I just think that sometimes people are a little more comfortable with someone they perceive as being more like them. It’s just a little easier for them to communicate.”
Evans joined council in the middle of former Cleveland Heights Mayor and Council Member Barbara Boyd’s term, who was elected to be a state representative in the Ohio House in 1992.
Boyd, who was the first African-American elected to council in 1983, met Evans when she served on her election committee.
Evans had been involved in the PTA and in a Cleveland Heights-University Heights parent group called Heights Concerned Parents, but had never considered politics.
Then Boyd suggested she apply to fill in for the final years of her term.
Evans was picked by council members to take over Boyd's seat, and was re-elected for another two-year term that fall.
Evans, a certified lab technologist at University Hospitals, has served as vice mayor for nearly four years.
Though she said it was difficult to pinpoint a primary focus for the next four years if she is re-elected, she said that council has to continue finding ways to serve the community with less money and without asking residents to pay more in taxes. She cited the city's decision to handle taxes through the as an example, which will save the city nearly $500,000.
"We know we did our research, and it should be to the city’s advantage but we will continue to monitor that," she said.
She also said working to improve communication between the city and residents is important, and attracting and retaining new businesses to Cleveland Heights.
And maintaining what Cleveland Heights offers is a priority.
"I love the people. I love the diversity. I love the respect that residents have for each other. When I was raising my children … there were so many different opportunities that were offered to them in this city as well as the educational benefits that they took advantage of," Evans said. "I love the public services that we take advantage of like the weekly garbage pickup, it’s nice to have those services."