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Monday, June 17, 2024

Indianapolis City-County Council and mayoral candidates make their case to voters

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Registered voters in Indianapolis will head to the polls May 7 to decide who moves on to the general election in November. The mayor’s post, as well as all 25 Indianapolis City-County Council seats, is up for election.

This is a lighter load compared to other election cycles, but the Recorder understands it’s still difficult to keep tabs on who will appear on your ballot as the everyday stresses of life take precedent over what can become tiresome politics. The Recorder tried to reach out to every candidate running in a contested primary to ask some basic questions about why people should get their vote. Not every candidate had contact information, and not every candidate responded.

Responses are edited for brevity.



First-time candidate for public office



District 1

LeRoy Robinson* (D)

Richard Anderson (R)

District 2

Colleen Fanning (R)

Thye Petty (D) — No response

Keith Potts (D), 29

Family: Married 

Education:​ B.A., Boston Conservatory of Music

Career:​ Performing arts

What are your main issues? 

• Infrastructure

• A local economy focused on inclusive growth

• Public safety

What else should voters know about you?​ When it comes to any issue, vote or decision, I will listen to as many perspectives as I can to make an informed decision with the best interests of all of District 2 at heart. As a young, proud union member, and member of the LGBTQ community, I will bring a fresh voice to advocate for our entire district. I believe we need to focus on bringing evidence-based solutions to the table.

District 3

Dan Jones (R) — Contact information unavailable

Steve Jamell (R) — Contact information unavailable

Dan Boots (D), 58

Family: ​

Married, four children 

Education: B.S. in industrial management with an engineering option, Purdue University; graduate law degree, Indiana University

Career:​ Intellectual property attorney 

What are your main issues?

• Investing in our city’s infrastructure, including roads and drainage systems 

• Ensuring economic development and commercial revitalization, particularly in the business and retail areas of Castleton and the 82nd Street corridor and along Binford Boulevard and Allisonville Road 

• Supporting schools and education 

• Keeping our neighborhoods and businesses safe 

• Expanding greenspace and access trails and making Indianapolis more sustainable 

• Promoting area beautification and improvement 

What else should voters know about you? I’ve dedicated my adult life to public service for our local community, and if I’m fortunate enough to be elected, I’ll put my boots on every day and work diligently and effectively for you. Learn more about me and my campaign at BootsforIindy.com​.

Coleman Watson (D), 26

Education: Ivy Tech Community College and IUPUI 

Career: Software developer 

What are your main issues? 

• Indianapolis infrastructure 

• Public safety 

• Small business growth and entrepreneurship 

• Workforce development 

What else should voters know about you? I have served in many leadership capacities in church, school, community and business. My professional experience includes business management, IT and software development. I started his first small business at the age of 23.

District 4

Michael McQuillen* (R)

Timothy Knight (D) — No response

Ethan Evans (D), 28

Family: Mother, father, two sisters 

Education: B.A. in cinematography, San Francisco State University; M.S. in secondary education, Indiana University

Career: Surveyor’s assistant, photographer 

What are your main issues?

• Infrastructure

• Public safety

• Fair-wage jobs

• Mental health care services

• Supportive housing for those experiencing homelessness. 

What else should voters know about you? As a community activist for the past few years, I have stood for those without a voice. I take an active part in police and community conversations aimed at improving relations. As a proud union member of AFSCME Local 827, I stand in support of workers’ rights and livable wages. I support public educators and believe more can be done to support our public-school teachers and students. Additionally, I volunteer with the Kheprw Institute and Lawrence Community Gardens.

District 5

Adam Cox (R)

Sherron Wellington Franklin (D) — Contact information unavailable

Crystal Puckett (D) — No response

Alison Brown (D), 34

Family: Married, one child 

Education: B.A. in public relations, Ball State University

Career: Volunteer coordinator for NeighborLink and co-owner of Brown Progressive Strategies 

What are your main issues?

• Affordable childcare

• Protecting mothers and their families 

• Public safety 

• Workforce development 

• Mass transit 

• Repairing our infrastructure 

What else should voters know about you? I am a mother, a community activist and a leader. 

As a progressive leader in Indianapolis, I have been a leading voice in building up vulnerable communities in our state. With a strong background in community development and organizing, I was the first person hired for Freedom Indiana in our groundbreaking campaign to protect LGBTQ+ rights in the Hoosier state. Since then, I have worked with the Indiana Federation of Democratic Women, Indiana Stonewall Democrats, Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky and Indiana Young Democrats, among others, to fight discrimination and help all Hoosiers.

District 6

Janice McHenry* (R)

Crista Carlino (D)

District 7

Joseph Simpson* (D) — No response

John Barth (D), 50

Family: Married, three children

Education: Regis University; M.S.W., University of Michigan

Career: Senior leader at a local health plan serving the Medicaid, health insurance marketplace and Medicare populations. 

What are your main issues?

• Improving Indianapolis neighborhoods

• Decreasing crime

• Advancing quality of life and the environment 

What else should voters know about you? In my first council term, I am proud to have authored Proposal 77 that funded improvements to Tarkington Park, which is now a neighborhood jewel for local families and visitors located in the heart of District 7.

District 8

Monroe Gray Jr.* (D) — No response

Eric Cunningham (D) — No response

District 9

William Oliver* (D) — No response

Daquavise Winston (D) — No response

Martha Baker Blue (D) — No response

Leigh Evans (D), 48

Family: Married, three children

Education: B.S. in psychology, Purdue University; M.B.A., University of Phoenix

Career: Executive director for Mapleton-Fall Creek Development Corporation

What are your main issues?

• Preserving affordable housing

• Improving infrastructure

• Providing more workforce development

What else should voters know about you? I believe your zip code should not determine what resources are available for you. I want to improve the quality of life for all District 9 neighborhoods. More information is available online on Facebook and vote4leighrileyevans.com.

Phillip Anderson (D), 62

Family: Married, five children, seven grandchildren

Education: Indiana State University; National Louis University

Career: Real estate broker

What are your main issues? Decrease crime by: 

• Better job opportunities for ex-felons (reducing recidivism, reunite men with families) 

• Repurpose or demolish empty buildings (improves appearance)

• Help for addicts, the homeless and mentally ill 

• Free or low-cost Youth Sport League (YSL) to provide athletic activities and education support for students

What else should voters know about you? First, I am not a politician but an advocate for District 9 and the city. I believe the City-County Council official should be a strong visible leader and spokesperson for the district that elected him or her. District 9 has a unique set of issues that need a nonpolitical perspective to work with the politicians to get things done; it can’t be business as usual.

District 10

Maggie Lewis* (D)

District 11

Evan Shearin (R)

Vop Osili* (D) — No response

Elizabeth Thompson Parker (D) — Contact information unavailable

District 12

Robert Johnson* (D)

District 13

Deandre Yates (D) — Contact information unavailable

Keith Graves (D)

Career: Professional in the financial services sector

What are your main issues? 

• Community revitalization

• Continuum of community care

• Criminal justice

Belinda Drake (write-in candidate for the general election), 33

Family: Married

Education: B.A., IUPUI

Career: Project management at Covance

What are your main issues?

• Improve community relations with local law enforcement

• Improve our roads and infrastructure

• Tackle the abandoned properties in the community

• Address the lack of mental health resources

What else should voters know about you? I am a young, motivated, hardworking woman that will fight for a better quality of life for all residents. My experiences include being part of the Indianapolis Public Allies, former intern with Congressman Andre Carson, and a supervisor that helped launch the Affordable Care Act for the state of Indiana. I also believe that my experience from working at Family and Social Services has prepared me to work with families in my community. Currently, as part of the project management team at Covance, I have learned how to work with different stakeholders on a global level to help successfully manage projects and improve processes related to healthcare. This skillset will be an asset, as I seek to work with other members of the council and mayor of Indianapolis.

District 14

Rena Allen (D) — No response

La Keisha Jackson* (D), 45

Family: Single

Education: M.B.A.

Career: Business and nonprofit 

What are your main issues?

• Crime

• Infrastructure

• Trash and litter

• Food insecurities

• Slums and absentee landlords

• Connecting jobs for our neediest and underserved population

• Providing more opportunities for youth

• Economic development and revitalization

• Establishing landmarks and beautification projects

What else should voters know about you? I am a Councilor for the people! I have lived on the far east side of Indianapolis for over 30 years, where I worked as a resident to help bring over $5 million in resources and improve infrastructure prior to joining the Council in 2014. I am a precinct committeeperson and I have over 15 years of political engagement and experience. I support and advocate for the benefits of our communities, neighborhoods, residents, the underserved, disadvantaged and the unappreciated. I am honored to serve and if re-elected will continue to serve the community and city with honesty, transparency, truthfulness and the fight for what’s needed and what’s right.

District 15

Andy Harris (R)

Bryan Chatfield (D) — No response

Jessica McCormick (D) — No response

District 16

Laura Giffel (R)

Patrick Wagner (D), 30

Education: B.A. in biology and Spanish, DePauw University; M.S. in biology, IUPUI

Career: Information technology program manager

Other times you’ve run for political office: Delegate, Marion County, Democratic National Convention 2016 (Sanders)

What are your main issues? 

• Question the status quo

• Sustainable growth

• Addressing our infrastructure, crime and cannabis reform

What else should voters know about you? Our progressive campaign has called for fundamental change to our municipal government — parts of which haven’t evolved since the inception of Unigov, which disproportionately affected our city’s low-income neighborhoods and communities of color. So, too, have we called for change in our local parties. Slating is wholly un-Democratic, and it’s meant to silence grassroots voices like ours. The late, great Julia Carson successfully beat the destructive slate in her first campaign as a candidate for Indiana House of Representatives in 1972. And I’ve wondered how would our local political landscape look now, had we abolished slating back in the 70s? Would our City-County Council still feel emboldened enough to offer private entities control of our most basic processes in my hometown? Would Indiana usher in her third Republican governor — in a row? Would our city finally celebrate meeting the progressive milestones that our sister cities achieved decades ago? I’m running on the Democratic ticket because I’m a lifelong Democrat, but our city can’t afford four more years of the same-old party-first politics. I am not indebted to any political machine, and I’m committed — for once and for all — to put my neighbors first.

Kristin Jones (D), 46

Family: Married, two children

Education: IUPUI 

Career: Director of community engagement at the Julian Center 

What are your main issues?

• Improving public safety and reducing crime 

• Connecting community resources to our residents

What else should voters know about you? I had the privilege of making Indiana history twice. First as Speaker John Gregg’s finance director, I helped raise a record $17 million in less than two years for his gubernatorial race. Secondly, I was a four-year volunteer campaign manager for JD Ford, who became the first out-serving LGBTQ+ legislator in Indiana history.

District 17

Paula Barnett (R)

Joseph Denney (D) — Contact information unavailable

Zach Adamson* (D), 48

Family: Married

Education: Trade certification/cosmetology

Career: Small business owner for 24 years

What are your main issues?

• Continuing to improve quality of life issues like abandoned housing and illegal dumping 

• Building on the increased economic viability of all neighborhoods in District 17 with a focus on those communities that have been historically neglected

• Working with neighborhoods to continue to engage the community at all levels

What else should voters know about you? It is my honor to serve the people of District 17. I’m proud of the work we’ve done together and the milestones we’ve reached. I pledge to be committed, accessible and engaged every step of the way.

Antonio Lipscomb (write-in candidate for the general election), 48 

Family: Married

Education: Theology degree; business student at Martin University 

Career: President of Love Life Outreach Vocational Training

What are your main issues?

• Unemployment

• Crime

• Community engagement

• Housing development

• Entrepreneurship

District 18

Carrie Zapfe (R)

Duane Ingram (D)

District 19

Anthony R. Mendez (R)

David Ray* (D), 41

Family: Married, three children

Education: Ball State University 

Career: Benefits manager, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 481 

What are your main issues?

• Public safety

• Streets

• Infrastructure

• Creating good-paying jobs in Indianapolis and on the east side. 

What else should voters know about you? I am incredibly proud to be a part of IBEW Local 481 and to represent the needs of workers on the City-County Council. Outside of work, and serving the east side on the council, there’s not much that I love more than watching my sons play just about every sport.

District 20

Phil Webster (D)

Jason Holliday* (R), 53

Family: Married with children 

Education: B.A. 

Career: Sales 

What are your main issues?

• Economic development 

What else should voters know about you? 

Community involvement

• Decatur Township Civic Council (member) 

• Decatur Central Lion’s Club (past member) 

• Southwest Multi-Service Center, board of directors (past member, past president) 

• Community Centers of Indianapolis, board of directors (past member) 

• Indianapolis/Marion County City-County Council appointee to the Common Construction Wage Committee

District 21

Tyler Richardson (R)

Frank Mascari* (D)

District 22

Jason Richey (R)

Jared Evans* (D)

District 23

Paul Annee (R)

District 24

Thomas Vaughn (R) — No response

Doug Wood (R) — No response

Ben Brown (D)

District 25

Brian Mowery* (R)

Justin Braun (D)




Joe Hogsett, 62*

Family: Married, three children

Education: Undergraduate and law degree, Indiana University; graduate degrees from IUPUI, Butler University and Christian Theological Seminary

Career: Mayor of Indianapolis since 2016

What are your main issues?

• Improving our infrastructure

• Increasing public safety

• Criminal justice reform

• Balancing our city budget

• Creating a city where prosperity and opportunity are attainable for all

Denise Hatch, 59

Family: Married, five children

Education: B.S. in marketing, A.S. in business management from New Hampshire College

Career: Retired business owner, entrepreneur, property investor and teacher.

What else should the voters know about you? When someone enters my life I try in small and large ways to make their life change for the better. Even only a smile at the custodian who is often ignored or taking in strangers because they needed a safe place. I was once nicknamed “Monster Mom” because of my passion for my children. My children have special needs and my husband and I worked hard to protect their rights to grow into the best human beings. I intend to be Indy’s mother and will fight together with you to make Indy proud.


Felipe Rios — Contact information unavailable

James Merritt — No response

Merritt, a state senator since 1990, has made potholes one of his central issues in his campaign to secure the Republican nomination and challenge Hogsett. Merritt represents District 31, which includes northeast Indianapolis.

Christopher Moore (R), 47

Education: Arsenal Technical High School

Career: Owner of a D.J. business and drives dump trucks

What are your main issues?

• Potholes

• Infrastructure

• Crime

• Helping the homeless

• Opioid addiction recovery

What else should voters know about you? I’m a citizen politician and do not want to make a career out of it. Set this city on a better path for a great future. For all of us. Not doing it for the money. It is not about me. It’s about every single one of us in this great city that needs a voice to be heard. This is the crossroads of America. We need to be better. We can and will be better.


Contact staff writer Tyler Fenwick at 317-762-7853. Follow him on Twitter @Ty_Fenwick.

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