Wilcox seeks fourth consecutive term on Cleveland Heights council
Politics was never a foreign subject to Cleveland Heights Councilman Dennis Wilcox. A student president in high school, he moved on to Case Western Reserve University as a political science major. He then went to law school at Ohio State University.
Wilcox first ran for council in 1999 and is currently running for his fourth consecutive term.
If there is one thing Wilcox knows more about than politics, it is the Cleveland Heights area. He is a 37-year resident of Cleveland Heights with two children who graduated from Heights High School.
In an interview, Wilcox discussed some of the things he has learned in three terms on council.
“You are always remembering that you can always learn something new,” he said. A a person who is involved in how the city is run, one must always be looking ahead, he said. For example, he stressed the importance of looking at nationwide issues and trends, and thinking about how to apply them to Cleveland Heights on a smaller scale.
Wilcox’s biggest responsibilities as a member of council are finance and the combined topic of planning and development. He is the chair of both of these council committees. His day job as a lawyer at Climaco, Wilcox, Peca, Tarantino & Garofoli also helps: he deals specifically with public finance and government law.
Wilcox gives a lot of credit to his occupation for his success as a City Council member, especially in the field of finance. Every day he is working with clients involving public finance. When projects come up that involve this, he can look at them and understand what to do with that particular issue.
Being a lawyer, though, has put some scrutiny on him as to whether his job puts him in a conflict of interest with his duties as a council member. When asked about this, Wilcox recalled a time when his firm was representing a non-profit organization and there needed to be a vote by City Council involving this organization. In his 12 years on council, he said, this was the only time he could think of when a conflict of interest arose. He recused himself from the vote and did not involve himself in any way on that issue.
One of Wilcox’s longtime friends and colleagues is John Peca. They met in 1974 in law school and have been friends ever since, later becoming partners at the same law firm.
When asked what makes Wilcox successful as a councilman, Peca said, “The people of Cleveland Heights have come to know the Dennis Wilcox I have known for over 30 years. And that’s a person with unquestioned integrity, unquestioned dedication and great intelligence.”
Jordan Murphy is a student at John Carroll University and has been following this candidate for his journalism class.