Elected to Cleveland City Council at age 23, Kucinich intervened to save parks, recreation facilities, libraries, fire stations, residential areas, and even Lake Erie from schemes and half-baked plans --- all in situations where others saw defeat as a foregone conclusion. His spirited, energetic approach emboldened him to challenge Cleveland’s entire political and financial establishment when it attempted to sell the city’s publicly-owned electric system, Cleveland Municipal Power (“Muny Light”), to a giant utility monopoly, which charged a great deal more for electricity. With the agreement of sale already negotiated and signed, Kucinich launched a David and Goliath issue-oriented petition and political effort to reverse the sale. The campaign catapulted him into the Mayor’s office as an independent candidate, defeating an incumbent Republican Mayor and the dominant local Democratic party.
Kucinich’s first act in office was to cancel the sale of Muny Light. Muny Light, though rescued from oblivion by Kucinich, became an issue yet again when the city’s largest bank demanded its sale to the same utility monopoly of which the bank was part-owner. The pressure to sell the electric system was extraordinary. Kucinich refused.
Kucinich’s refusal to sell Muny Light was vindicated, and his career resurrected, 15 years later, when the people of Cleveland recognized that by not selling Muny Light, Kucinich had saved the consumers millions of dollars. In recognition of his courage in refusing to sell, voters elected Kucinich to the Ohio Senate and then to eight consecutive terms in the United States Congress.