March 28, 2023

How the Democrats running for Indy mayor plan to tackle crumbling roads and public safety

Four Democratic mayoral candidates attended a forum at Indy Star. - Jill Sheridan/WFYI News

Four Democratic mayoral candidates attended a forum at Indy Star.

Jill Sheridan/WFYI News

Four Democratic candidates in the Indianapolis mayoral race gathered for a town hall discussion at Indy Star Tuesday night.  The candidates were asked about innovative ideas, neighborhood investment, infrastructure and public safety.

As the primary election nears, there are still numerous candidates running for mayor.  This is the first time incumbent Mayor Joe Hogsett has joined a public forum. Hogsett says he is running for a third and final term.

When addressing neighborhood investment, Hogsett pointed to the Cook Medical project on the city’s northeast side.

“It’s that kind of leadership, that the city of Indianapolis has taken development directly into neighborhoods that have not only been overlooked but felt ignored,” Hogsett said.

Hogsett touted the city’s Mobile Crisis Assistance Team, or MCAT, program and coming clinician-led response teams in response to public safety questions. He said he has committed to crime prevention – with $45 million going directly to grassroots groups – and urged commitment to the course.

“It’s making a difference – last year alone in 2022, we saw the largest single decline in murders for IMPD,” Hogsett said.

Candidate Robin Shackleford is a state representative who recently laid out a public safety platform. She spoke often about what voters have been telling her, and said many are concerned about a lack of transparency and accountability.

“There is no progress report for all the promises that were stated. Did you complete these promises? What did you complete?” Shackleford said.

Indy Star sourced questions from the public ahead of time, and said there were many about infrastructure problems.

Shackleford said she was committed to finding solutions for deteriorating roads and a lack of state funding.

“I will be relentless. Using my 10 years of experience with the legislature and using my relationships to sit down with those leaders and figure out how we are going to fix Marion County roads, and what does that formula look like,” Shackleford said.

Candidate Clif Marsiglio is a community activist and educator.  He said he wants to focus on what the community wants.

“I’m here trying to fix the things I’ve seen other politicians not even attempt. I’m here with new ideas. I don’t want to do things the way everyone’s always done them,” Marsiglio said.

He agreed with Shackleford that the city needs better accountability.

“If we followed through, we could actually do what we need to,” Marsiglio said.

Larry Vaughn is a realtor and perennial candidate. He complained about how the city’s funds have been used and said commissioners should be appointed to deal with Indianapolis’s biggest issues.

He agreed that infrastructure is a top concern. “Our roads are in shambles,” Vaughn said. 

Candidate Bob Kern was the only Democrat missing from the conversation. Indy Star will host the Republican candidates later this week.

Contact WFYI city government and policy reporter Jill Sheridan at Follow on Twitter: @JillASheridan.

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