AKRON -- Sage Lewis does not look or act like a typical politician. The cowboy-hat-wearing owner of a digital marketing company is running as an outside-of-the-box Democratic candidate for Akron mayor.
"This is real, this is not a joke," said Lewis.
He is going back to the basics of democracy in his first-ever run for office.
"Government in America is founded on the principle of the people can govern the people," said Lewis.
His decision to run was an impulsive act after watching longtime Mayor Don Plusquellic quit and interim Mayor Garry Moneypenny step down after an improper encounter with a woman staffer.
He respected both men and their accomplishments.
"My mom always told me to finish what I started," said Lewis.
And he wants to be viewed as a non-politician.
"Maybe being a politician is a hindrance to governing well today," he observed.
Lewis grew up in Medina and moved to Akron. He went to Baldwin Wallace University, majoring in English.
He worked in food service jobs before jumping into digital marketing. He's owned and run his company since 1999.
Why does he wear a cowboy hat.?
He claims to visit Houston every year on business and takes in an annual rodeo. He buys one hat every trip.
He claims to be a Texas kind of a guy.
"I'm a little independent, a free thinker," said Lewis. "I'm not afraid to go against the grain."
His priorities include cutting the mayor's salary and checking the internet for ideas on how other cities have handled supersized sewer improvement projects. Akron has a billion-dollar-plus such project to be completed.
Among his top goals? Stemming Akron's population loss.
"I'm going to bring the power of technology and innovation to the city and create jobs and get people excited to move here and not want to leave," he promised.
He owns the building that houses his and several other businesses.
It used to be Akron's first hospital. His office is in the old maternity ward. He hopes it will give birth to a new kind of campaign for a new kind of candidate, a determined and energetic long shot.
He says his campaign will rely heavily on social media.
Follow WKYC Senior Political Correspondent Tom Beres on Twitter @TomBeres.