Michael Summers Reelected Mayor of Lakewood
by Nick Castele
The mayor of Lakewood held onto office after a contentious campaign that focused on a plan to close the city’s hospital.
Mayor Michael Summers won 57 percent of the vote, defeating State Sen. Michael Skindell, an opponent who sought to make Lakewood Hospital the center of the campaign.
The Cleveland Clinic this year announced it would pull out of the city-owned hospital, turning it into an outpatient health center.
Skindell pledged to save Lakewood Hospital. And a campaign by that name organized around Issue 64, which would have required a vote of the people to approve hospital changes. But 52 percent voted no on that issue.
Summers said he views his win at the polls as public support for current hospital plans. But he also acknowledged the strength of the opposition campaign, saying there will be more public forums on the issue.
“I think we’ve got to do a better job of communicating the future of healthcare and the implications to those folks who were concerned enough to not vote for me,” he said in an interview. “And I accept that challenge of trying to do a better job of helping them understand how Lakewood can be even better in the future.”
The fight over Lakewood Hospital isn’t finished. The city and the Cleveland Clinic face a lawsuit filed this year demanding that the Clinic continue to operate the hospital through the end of its lease in 2026.