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'I've been blessed beyond belief': Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan announces he will not seek 3rd term

'My reasons are my own, and they are without regret,' Horrigan said in a statement. 'It is the honor of my professional lifetime to serve as Akron’s 62nd mayor.'

AKRON, Ohio — After two terms in office, Dan Horrigan has decided to step away.

Akron's mayor announced on Tuesday he will not seek re-election in 2023. He confirmed the news in a statement released by his campaign, saying he had made the decision "after much consideration and self-reflection."

"My reasons are my own, and they are without regret," Horrigan wrote. "It is the honor of my professional lifetime to serve as Akron’s 62nd mayor. It is my intention to complete my second term through December 2023 with the same vigor and integrity that I hope I have displayed so far. There's still more work to be done."

An Akron native, Horrigan made his living as a high school teacher before being elected to City Council in 1999. He represented Ward 1 for eight years before moving up to the county level, serving as Summit County Clerk of Courts for a similar timeframe.

In 2015, the city underwent a tumultuous period of leadership following longtime Mayor Don Plusquellic's abrupt resignation. Acting Mayor Garry Moneypenny was subsequently forced to step down after less than two weeks due to an inappropriate encounter with a staffer, and then-Council President Jeff Fusco took over on an interim basis. During this time, Horrigan decided to run for the position, edging Councilman Michael Williams in the Democratic primary before handily beating Republican Eddie Sipplen to become Akron's first newly elected mayor in 28 years.

Credit: City of Akron
Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan

During his first term, Horrigan focused on economic and social redevelopment following decades of urban decline, and citizens rewarded his efforts with a resounding re-election win in 2019. Horrigan had been turning his attention to the distribution of federal funds from the American Rescue Plan, desperately needed following the struggles of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Akron was once called the Rubber City because we made tires," Horrigan said at his 2021 State of the City address. "We keep the title now because we are resilient — we bounce back."

But this past June, Horrigan's tenure was turned upside down when eight Akron police officers fired dozens of bullets into 25-year-old Jayland Walker, who had led authorities on a chase and allegedly shot his own gun out the window. The incident led to Walker's death, and officials later confirmed he was not armed when he was shot.

The confrontation made national news and led to widespread protests across the city, especially following the release of graphic body camera footage from that night. Horrigan and newly hired Police Chief Steve Mylett were forced into the limelight, instituting a downtown curfew for several days and taking harsh criticism for the department's actions.

Since Walker's killing, Horrigan has worked to push for certain police reforms, awarding hundreds of thousands in grants to violence prevention programs and championing a citizens review board proposal that eventually passed City Council. However, he has also endured friction from activists who disagree with the pace of the changes, and during the height of the summer protests some demonstrators even gathered outside the mayor's home.

Horrigan did not reference the Walker saga or anything else when explaining his decision. Instead, he thanked his family for their support "throughout this time," as well as those who "have supported my vision for the community throughout my tenure as mayor, and some through almost 30 years of public service."

"I've been blessed beyond belief," he concluded.


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