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Issue Date: January 2008

Peter Lawson Jones

Cuyahoga County commissioner
Age • 55

Why he’s interesting • Jones challenged fellow county commissioners by voting against the demolition of the Ameritrust Tower and a sales tax hike to pay for a new convention center. He also acts in local theater productions, is writing a play and coaches a baseball team.

His political inspiration • L. Douglas Wilder, of Virginia, who became the country’s first elected African-American governor in 1990

How that fits Jones’ ambitions • “If there’s any other political office that I’d like to occupy at some point in the future, it’d probably be governor.”

His literary side • He’s writing “Bloodless Jungle,” a play “about an up-and-coming elected official who’s running for Congress, who has to make a decision between a friend who’s in very public trouble and his campaign.” It’s “not necessarily autobiographical,” he says. His play “The Family Line” was performed at Karamu House in 2005.

On being a baseball coach • “I love the sport, and I love the interaction with teenagers.” He hopes his players, ages 17 to 19, see him as a male role model. “I’d like to think they learn that one can become a lawyer and elected official.”

This month • Jones, who started acting and directing at Harvard, appears at the Cleveland Play House in “Bourbon at the Border” Jan. 5 through 20.

On his vote against the convention center sales tax • “I felt there was a more fair and equitable way to fund it: through private-sector investment, hotel and bed tax, and restaurant tax. We’re collecting the tax now, and we don’t need the money to construct a facility for at least a year, if not longer.”

In the spotlight • Jones, who got his start acting and directing at Harvard, will appear on stage Jan. 5 through 20 at the Cleveland Play House in “Bourbon at the Border.”

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