CLEVELAND — Cleveland Mayor-elect Justin Bibb's transition team includes a familiar face for many Ohioans. On Wednesday, Bibb announced a 75-person transition team consisting of "emerging and experienced leaders," including former Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton.
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During her time as the Ohio Department of Health Director under Gov. Mike DeWine, Acton became one of the faces of the state's response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Yet despite earning national recognition for her work amid the pandemic, Acton became a polarizing figure in the state, especially among Republicans who felt the state's measures in the spring of 2020 had become too strict.
In June of 2020, Acton stepped down from her position as health director but remained an advisor to DeWine until August. In an interview with The New Yorker, Acton explained that she feared she would be forced to sign orders that would go against her Hippocratic oath to do no harm.
This past February, Acton re-emerged when she announced that she was stepping down from her role as the Director of Kind Columbus at The Columbus Foundation to consider a run to replace U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), who is not running for reelection in 2022. In April, Acton, a Democrat, announced that she had ultimately decided against running.
The 34-year-old Bibb's transition team includes 10 sub-committees, with Acton serving on the health sub-committee. After defeating Cleveland City Council President Kevin Kelley in November's election to succeed Mayor Frank G. Jackson, Bibb will be sworn in as Cleveland's first new mayor in 16 years in January.