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The Inauguration of Armond Budish

On Sunday, January 4th, we attending the inauguration of Mr. Armond Budish as Cuyahoga County Executive which was held at the Global Center for Health Innovation on St. Clair Avenue. According to the volunteers that we spoke with, over 450 people RSVP'd to attend this event and, from the look of things, they all made it. The hour long event which started at 3 pm was presided over by Dr. Alex Johnson, President of Cuyahoga Community College who said that he regarded hosting this ceremony to be "a privilege" and he admirably moved the proceedings swiftly along.

Mayor Frank Jackson gave the welcome in which he said that he had worked with Mr. Budish before on such projects as the Cleveland Plan and looked forward to working with him in this new capacity. The invocation was given by Rev. Dr. E. Theophilus Caviness of the Greater Abyssinia Baptist Church who prayed that Mr. Budish be embodied with the necessary visionary perspective that is necessary for the job of county executive and also asked that he possess such characteristics as humaneness, character and integrity.

The newly elected president of the Cuyahoga County Council, Mr. Dan Brady, introduced all of the county council people in attendance and said that he believed that Mr. Budish will be "a strong leader" and improve the quality of living for everyone in the county. This belief seemed to be seconded by Cantor Kathryn Wolfe Sebo who sang a lovely musical selection and cited that term "Tikkun" which means "repairing the world" and talked about how important it is that we carry on in the democratic tradition that was instilled in us by our parents.

Mr. Budish was then introduced and sworn in by our good friend, U.S. Congresswoman Marcia Fudge who said that she too had followed Mr. Budish's career closely and was impressed by his "clear vision" and his ability to see projects through to their fruition. Congresswoman Fudge said that Mr. Budish didn't just "talk the talk but he walked the walk." What's more, she was sure that Mr. Budish would be "a people's executive" who would make people's lives better by his very presence.

Mr. Budish was then sworn in and gave his inaugural address which was a short but potent 15 minutes. Several times he emphasized the point that the balance must be found between "respecting tax dollars" and "providing needed services." He took special care to thank his family for their support because he said that strengthening the family is "what we're about." And, in order to do this, he said we must take risks and engage in economic development that will keep us fiscally healthy and "grow the pie."

Therefore, according to Mr. Budish, we must strengthen our assets by way of a good business plan, encouragement of innovation and entrepreneurship as well as education and training, and make sure that those released from prison be given the tools to rebuild their lives. In short, Mr. Budish seeks to "tear down the wall separating social services and economic development." He wants to do this by combining human services with economic development and job training to help those in need in achieve the long term goal of self-sufficiency.

Mr. Budish concluded by saying that "this is our county" and we need to take pride in our diversity because "our lives are connected" and we need each other. Thus, "we must use our head and our hearts to show what can happen when we all dream together."

Mr. Budish received a stupendous ovation and Dr. Johnson asked the audience, "wasn't that a powerful speech?" And we all agreed that it was. Dr. Johnson then said that, "all of us are looking forward to seeing a great Cleveland emerge in the next couple of years." Also impressed was Rev. Dr. Kenneth W. Chalker of the University Circle United Methodist Church who gave the Benediction. In fact, he started off by saying that "benediction means 'good word' and, frankly, we've already heard it."

We expected that the gathering would be quite large so we got there early so we would have the time to get a good seat and visit with friends. Mr. Michael Houser from Crain's Diversity Council recognized us so he walked over and told us to give his best to Ms. Margaret W. Wong. Dr. Michael Dover from CSU talked to us about the upcoming 5th Annual Cuyahoga Country Conference on Social Welfare and we told him that we would do our best to attend it because we got a lot out of attending the one in 2014. We discussed domestic violence issues with Domestic Relations Court Judge Diane Palos who was recently quoted in a "Plain Dealer" article regarding the growing awareness about this problem. We enjoyed sitting next to Mr. Salomon Harge of the Consumer Protection Association.

As we were leaving, we met our friend Mr. Ernie Brass who we see all of the time at various chamber of commerce functions. Mr. Brass, who knows that we work for an immigration law firm, noted that Mr. Budish didn't mention immigration in his speech. We, however, were not too surprised by this and recalled that we had discussed this issue with Mr. Budish before and that he, himself, had mentioned it in several speeches that we had seen him give.

So, we just smiled and said, "oh, we think that he will."