In just over two weeks, voters will go to the polls to elect the next Mayor of Cincinnati.
FOX19's Jennifer Grove sat down with Mayor Mark Mallory Friday to talk about his eight years leading the city and what he sees for it's future.
WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF IN YOUR TIME IN OFFICE?
MALLORY: Well, I ran on the concept of turning the city around and changing the direction of the city and I definitely feel like that has been done.
WHAT IS THE BIGGEST, AS YOU LEAVE, THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE FACING THE CITY GOING FORWARD?
MALLORY: I really don't live in that world, I don't point to a single thing. I've always shied away from that even when I ran for mayor. Obviously though public safety is something we all have to pay attention to and stay focused on because if you don't have a safe city you just don't have much else.
THE BIGGEST OPPORTUNITY FOR CINCINNATI DOWN THE ROAD, WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE FUTURE?
MALLORY: I still think the focus on economic development, the creation of jobs is the way to go. I also think it's important now to take the success of downtown and the success you see in Over the Rhine and use that particular formula and duplicate that in neighborhoods across Cincinnati
PEOPLE HAVE SAID ‘OH, MAYOR MALLORY'S LEGACY IS THE STREETCAR. WHAT'S YOUR REACTION TO THAT?
MALLORY: That's just the thing that gets talked about the most. I don't really think in terms of having a legacy that is a particular thing, you know, the Banks, or the renovation of Over the Rhine or the streetcar for that matter.
DO YOU THINK SOME OF YOUR CRITICS WILL SEE THINGS DIFFERENTLY IN TIME? OR DO YOU THINK THEY'LL HAVE THE SAME PERSPECTIVE ON YOUR TERM AS MAYOR?
MALLORY: I think the things people are critical of won't necessarily change but I think an honest assessment of where the city was eight years ago compared to where it is today will reveal we've made tremendous progress.
THE QUESTION ON EVERY BODY'S MIND... I KNOW YOU'RE NOT DONE.
MALLORY: I can ask the question myself: "What are you going to do next?"
WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO NEXT?
MALLORY: I don't know yet. I have options. I'm exploring options. I do know I'm committed to cities and I want to see cities continue to be revitalized, invested in. so whatever I end up doing will most likely have something to do with that
HOW CRITICAL IS THE MAYOR'S ROLE IN THE CITY.
The mayor has to set the priorities, the mayor has to set the vision in a collaborative way, but the mayor is without a doubt the leader of the city.
THE ADVICE TO THE NEXT MAYOR COMING IS IN WHAT?
The advice I would give to the next mayor is be true to yourself, focus on the things you know will improve the city of Cincinnati. And always, always, always be committed to the citizens of our great city.