Former U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett launched his mayoral campaign Wednesday night from what could be considered sacred ground—King Park, the site where Senator Robert Kennedy addressed anguished crowds on the evening of April 4, 1968, following Martin Luther King’s assassination, a night which ended peacefully for Indianapolis even as other cities erupted in violence.
Despite the evening chill, Hogsett delivered a fiery speech from a podium audaciously installed inside the Landmark for Peace Monument itself, which positioned the Democratic candidate under the silhouettes of King and Kennedy, with their arms outstretched as if in blessing.
During his speech at 17th and Broadway, Hogsett boldly evoked the Democratic legacy of racial unity, stating, “for one night, Indianapolis could not be divided. It was one city. It was our city. And so tonight, I ask you to join me in rekindling that spirit once more as I announce my candidacy for mayor of Indianapolis.” Hogsett said that as a father, “there was nothing I wouldn’t do for my family” and promised that same focus in securing public safety for Indianapolis.
Before Hogsett’s appearance, City-County Council President Maggie Lewis, who herself has been touted as a potential Democratic mayoral candidate, warmed up the crowd, commenting, “We need a a mayor who believes in opportunity for all, not just for a few of his friends.” The city needs “a mayor who will keep our families safe,” she added. Former State Rep. Bill Crawford offered his endorsement, quoting poet Langston Hughes about the restless power of deferred dreams.
Former Indiana Governor Evan Bayh followed, describing Hogsett as “tight with a buck” and stating he would restore fiscal discipline to the city.
In an interview with the Indianapolis Recorder Newspaper following the event, Bayh, a former junior U.S. Senator from Indiana, stated Hogsett would “be an inclusive mayor, he’ll be for public safety and fighting crime in our streets, he’ll also be for better schools and sound fiscal management for the city of Indianapolis. He’s the kind of leader we need.”