ROB ZIMMERMAN, Candidate for Shaker Heights City Council

Campaign Web Site:

Educational Background
B.A. in Political Science, cum laude with University Honors, The Ohio State University, 1988. J.D., The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, 1991, Chief Justice of the University Court.

Occupation / Employment
Lawyer and partner with Benesch Law. Chair of the firm’s public law practice group and vice chair of the firm’s litigation practice group. Trials and appeals and government affairs advocacy on behalf of corporate, government, non-profit and individual clients. Listed in Best Lawyers in American for both employment law and government relations practice. Listed in Ohio Super Lawyers and recognized previously as one of top 100 lawyers in State of Ohio and top 50 lawyers in Cleveland area.

I am a proud, committed and lifelong Democrat. I am a past president of this club and recipient of the 2008 Democrat of the Year award, which I proudly display at my home. I am a member of both the central and executive committees of the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party and serve on the executive committee of the Ohio Democratic Party. I have a strong record of service on Shaker Heights City Council since 2006. I am a past chair of the finance committee and have served as a member of that committee since 2008. I have been council’s representative on the City Planning Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals since 2012. I am a past chair and member of the Safety and Public Works Committee. I have served on council in good times and bad and tried to make wise decisions on behalf of our residents at all times. When I first ran in 2005, I focused on how to “Keep Shaker Special” and preserve the things that make Shaker a great place we all wanted to live. But it was in my first term that The Great Recession hit, making this goal more important but also harder to achieve.

Working with Mayor Leiken, council had to implement painful budget cuts including the layoff of firefighters. No one likes to do these things but hard choices had to be made and our mayor and city council made them. We’ve cut millions from our budget but did so with a strong determination not to affect the quality of life of our residents.

Changes in state tax policy under the Kasich administration have made things even harder for us here in Shaker. The state eliminated the estate tax upon which Shaker greatly depended and significantly reduced local government funding. The state continues to target local government for funding cuts. In Shaker, we simply couldn’t budget cut ourselves out of the looming deficits caused by economic conditions and state tax policy. We had to make yet another difficult decision to seek additional revenue from our residents and we are so grateful for their vote in 2012 to raise income tax rates in Shaker for the first time in 30 years. We have turned the corner in Shaker. Our budget is balanced, cash reserves strong and credit rating sound. This has put us in the position to make needed, targeted investments in our neighborhoods that will benefit us all.

I am running for another term because the work is not yet done. I feel like so much of my time on council has been in preparation for this moment and the projects underway and soon to be started. I want to see it through on your behalf, it you will let me. For decades Shaker has envisioned a “Downtown Shaker” where we can live, work and enjoy ourselves. Now the Van Aken District is under construction and will open in 2018! As council’s representative on the City Planning Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals, I have been intimately involved in this project. We are already working on the plans for the next phases.

We are also making investments in our great neighborhoods. The city has developed and is implementing a 10 year capital plan to resurface our roads and fix our sidewalks, sewers and lakes. We know this causes inconvenience but it’s worth it in the long haul.
We are working to return problem properties to productive use through the creative Shaker Renovator Program. We are moving forward with sustainability policies through our Sustainable Shaker Task Force. You might have seen solar panels on some houses around town approved by our Architectural Board of Review. We are engaging with residents and investing in our historic Moreland neighborhood which was hit harder by the foreclosure crisis than any other. Townhomes are being built along Van Aken and Onaway roads giving our current and hopefully future residents additional housing options.

We are investing in businesses along the Lee Road corridor right next to Cleveland. This is so important to stabilize our neighborhoods of South Shaker. There is so much more to come! And by the way, you know I will be working with all of you to elect Democrats in 2018 up and down the ticket. It’s good for Ohio and for Shaker. I respectfully ask for your vote this November.