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Thursday, February 9, 2023

Shackleford: Why I’m running for mayor

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Earlier this year, while recovering from surgery, I did some meditating on how I could have the most impact as a public servant. I came to the realization that running for mayor would mean turning my focus close to home, on my neighbors — on you — so I could work to reverse the troubling trends plaguing our city. The fact is that the people of our city are perishing — and it needs to be stopped.

Indianapolis is home. I was born and raised here. I have spent much of my career representing my fellow Indianapolis residents at the Statehouse. I believe all of us — regardless of where we come from or which neighborhood we live in — deserve the same opportunities and quality of life.

Indianapolis is diverse, but right now, not everyone’s voices are heard.

As your mayor, I will make sure yours is.

I have committed my life to ensuring the policies I create have diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility built in at every stage, as a state representative and recent leader of the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus.

My vision for our city is of an inclusive and welcoming environment for everyone.
Indianapolis has a lot of prosperity, but it also has a lot of poverty. More than 16% of our neighbors live in poverty, according to the most recent census. That’s 5% higher than the national average.

The city’s homeless count increased by 21% to nearly 2,000 in 2021, the highest it had been in a decade, according to the Indiana University Public Policy Institute.
As your mayor, I will address the increase in our city’s homeless population with humanity and dignity, while also reminding everyone that people experiencing homelessness are still people who can make valuable contributions to society.

I will also increase affordability and equity in housing, develop a plan to encourage development without displacement, and improve the health and safety of existing homes.
More than 1,000 people a year are victims of homicides or overdoses in our city.
More than 200 people were murdered in Indianapolis for the third year in a row in 2022 for only the third time in history.

As your mayor, I will address the root causes of crime, fight for common sense gun safety, increase youth engagement in community policing, and improve the relationships between our community and law enforcement to drive down crime rates.

The number of fatal overdoses last year in Indy soared to 799, eclipsing the number of people who died in shootings and other methods to become the leading cause of death in cases examined by the Marion County Coroner’s Office, according to media reports.

As your mayor, I will work to decrease drug overdoses, improve access to quality health care, make it more affordable for seniors and working families, address chronic health conditions plaguing our communities and eradicate food deserts in our neighborhoods.

Indianapolis also has a billion-dollar transportation infrastructure gap, the amount the city would need every year, in addition to its existing projected revenues, to build up and adequately maintain its roads, bridges and sidewalks.

As your mayor, I will also work to improve our city’s streets and connectivity and ensure federal transportation funds are distributed efficiently and equitably across the city.
Indianapolis’ youth are the future of our community. They are the next leaders, doctors, teachers and tradesmen.

As your mayor, I will create job opportunities and safe spaces for our youth and families to thrive. Additionally, I will fight for our public schools so that we may advocate for a better tomorrow.

We can do better.

When I become your mayor, we will.

Robin Shackleford is a Democratic state representative for House District 98 and candidate for mayor of Indianapolis.

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