Candidate Profile: Joe Hogsett 

Democrat running for Mayor of Indianapolis

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Joe Hogsett (Democrat)

Age: 58 (Nov. 2, 1956)

Global warming

NUVO: What is your stance on global warming?

Joe Hogsett: It exists.

What will you do to reduce carbon emissions and make Indianapolis more eco-friendly?

How do you plan to make those changes?

Why do you think those changes will make a positive impact on the environment of Indianapolis?

I support the overwhelming consensus of the scientific community that global warming exists. I applaud Mayor Ballard for his work aimed at making Indianapolis more sustainable and I believe there are ways in which Indianapolis city government can do its part in fighting climate change. In addition, city government efforts to reform and expand modes of mass transit are vital to combating global warming. I support recent IndyGo efforts to implement the Red Line, a new bus rapid transit system. When fully realized, the Red Line will provide efficient and environmentally responsible transportation from Westfield and Carmel all the way down to Greenwood. Providing Indianapolis residents with dependable modes of mass transit as an alternative to their vehicles will go a long way toward significantly reducing the carbon footprint in our city. Finally, we must continue to make Indianapolis pedestrian and bicycle-friendly. Indianapolis is now home to 200 miles of dedicated bike space and is recognized as a top-ten city for cycling. As mayor I will continue to find ways to enhance our infrastructure that provides residents with safe and reliable alternatives to relying exclusively on a motor vehicle. In sum, by partnering with the City-County Council, concerned citizens, and the private sector I hope to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels which will result in cleaner air for our residents. These efforts will positively impact the cleanliness of our air and the overall quality of life for all those living in Indianapolis.

Income inequality

In 2014, the Census Bureau released numbers saying overall net worth was down 7%. Is income inequality a problem?

Hogsett: Yes.

In your opinion, what causes wealth inequality?

What will you do to lessen the gap between the rich and the poor?

What kind of effects will your changes have?

How do you propose making these changes?

Income inequality is a significant problem in Indianapolis. In fact, one in five residents live below the poverty line, including one in three children. This follows an 82 percent increase of residents in poverty over the past decade. According to a recent Harvard study, Indianapolis ranks 92nd out of the 100 largest U.S. cities for upward mobility. These statistics are staggering and they are unacceptable. The causes of income inequality are many, but the lack of quality early childhood education is a significant contributing factor. As mayor, I will continue to support our city's pre-K pilot program, even while advocating for a long-term, state-funded program for universal access to early childhood education. In addition, Indianapolis lacks a coordinated, comprehensive youth employment plan. As mayor, I will work with the nonprofit and private sectors to employ at least 1,000 area youth in meaningful summer jobs each year. These summer job opportunities will connect our youth to community leaders and provide young people with skill sets that will help them attend college and/or find gainful employment after high school. Studies show that the earlier an individual is impacted by a quality education and meaningful development opportunities, the less likely it is that they fall victim to the drugs or crime that so often prevent one from reaching their full potential.

Black lives matter

What will you do to crack down on police brutality?

What will you do to curb recent murder and crime rates?

Why do you think your solutions will be effective?

I support the implementation of body cameras by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, and would seek the state and federal funding necessary to expand our city's usage. In addition, my public safety plan calls for a return to neighborhood policing — so that every officer knows their neighborhood, and every neighborhood knows their officer. I believe a focus on committing police officers to particular neighborhoods and encouraging real, meaningful communication with residents will lead to better relationships between citizens and law enforcement and drastically reduce the potential for violence.

Indianapolis is facing a homicide and gun crime epidemic. The root causes of this violence are complex and did not develop overnight — so I believe that the solutions must be comprehensive and long-term in focus. As a former federal prosecutor, I worked with local, state, and federal law enforcement to tackle our challenges. We cracked down on gun crime, prosecuted those who perpetrated internet crimes against children, created the first Indiana Civil Rights task force, and broke records for the number of criminal convictions and the length of sentences imposed. As mayor, my plan adds 150 new police officers to the streets. In addition, I will lift a 30-year moratorium on new streetlights to improve the safety and quality-of-life for our residents. As mentioned, I will ensure at least 1,000 area youth have summer jobs that deter them from the pitfalls of crime and drugs. And finally, I will deploy cutting-edge data analytics and technology to make our police department more effective and more efficient.

Mass transit

What will you do to improve mass transit in the city of Indianapolis?

How should a mass transit system be operated?

What would you like to see Indy's mass transit system expand to include?

Would you like to see Indy's mass transit system expand?

Mass transit has the potential to define the future of Indianapolis. Recent studies have shown that, while Indianapolis is the 12th largest city in the country, we rank 83rd in per capita investment in mass transit. I support securing public buy-in as part of the plan to expand mass transit, and I believe next year's potential referendum will provide a unique opportunity for the people of Indianapolis to speak on this critical challenge. When the public gives its support, as mayor I will work to see that Indianapolis becomes a city known for safe, reliable, and expansive mass transit. The impact on the environment is significant and mass transit is also a determinative factor when it comes to attracting the next generation workforce.

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Public Schools

What are the greatest challenges facing IPS today?

What will you do to fix these problems?

If your solution involves increased spending, where will the money come from?

How do you plan to cut down on crime rates in IPS schools?

There is no doubt that IPS is confronting a unique set of challenges. Lower than state average test scores and high rates of expelled and dropout students continue to plague the school system. We must do better for our children. My education plan does several things to address the significant challenges facing our schools. First, I will work to expand pre-K in Indianapolis. Second, my "TeachingIndy" initiative will reward those who choose to educate in our schools by opening up city owned abandoned residential properties to teachers at a reduced price, retaining the best and the brightest and recruiting the next generation of educators. Third, I will create the Mayor's Scholars Initiative which will bring together teachers, mentors, coaches, and community leaders who will ensure that every child eligible for the state 21st Century Scholars program is signed up for the scholarship and receives the guidance necessary to complete the program. Finally, I will end the school-to-prison pipeline by encouraging our schools and relevant stakeholders to implement best practices of school discipline.


What services should the city provide to help the homeless community?

What services should be provided by churches and other private groups?

What would you do to make sure everyone has somewhere warm this winter?

Indianapolis has seen an increase in the number of those experiencing homelessness over the past five years. While a number of non-profit/civic organizations offer services, including temporary housing, to those experiencing homelessness, the most recently available data shows the number of available beds to be approximately half of the number needed.

Nearly 30 percent of those experiencing homelessness in Indianapolis are families. In fact, at last count over, 3,000 children in the Indianapolis Public School system are experiencing homelessness. Homelessness amongst families is often a result of a lost job, reduced hours, or unforeseen medical expenses.

For prevention, it is absolutely critical that the city attract good quality jobs that are stable and pay a living wage. In addition, there must be easily accessible resources available to families that are experiencing a financial hardship so that they receive help before they reach the point of homelessness. I will work with IPS to identity those students experiencing homelessness and work with their families to steer them to the correct resources. From there, employment resources such as Work One Indy will be deployed to assist parents in finding meaningful and long-term employment.

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Most pressing issue

What is the most pressing issue facing Indianapolis right now?

What is your approach for addressing this issue?

Why is this issue more important, in your opinion, than other issues facing Indianapolis?

How do you prioritize the issues facing the city?

First and foremost, we must aggressively address the public safety crisis facing our city. Everything from attracting the next generation workforce, to keeping our children safe in their homes and neighborhoods, is affected by rising crime rates. As a former federal prosecutor I have a unique understanding of these challenges and I have dealt with them firsthand. By adding 150 new police officers to the street, implementing neighborhood policing, and utilizing cutting-edge technology, we can build a stronger, safer city.

Quality of Life

What do you think are the greatest assets Indianapolis has for improving the quality of life for its citizens?

How would you go about improving the quality of life in Indianapolis?

Do you believe there is a marginal divide between the citizens of this city, economically, socially, racially, etc? Why or why not?

Do you support the current administration's dedication to bicycling opportunities and bicycle safety? What would you do to increase this initiative in Indianapolis and Marion County?

Indianapolis is home to world-class amenities and attractions that are of great benefit to its citizens. We have world champion professional sports franchises, some of the best restaurants in the country, a network of renowned hospitals and medical professionals, and several highly reputable colleges and universities. As mayor I will build upon our assets to not only improve the lives of our current residents, but to also attract and retain the best and the brightest.

My neighborhoods plan specifically addresses quality of life initiatives. I will charge my neighborhood advocates with bringing together all relevant stakeholders and giving them the resources they need to bring about growth in their respective neighborhoods. With tools such as state and federal grants, collaborative work spaces, responsibly-implemented Tax Incremental Financing districts, and affordable housing development, I will empower neighborhoods across Indianapolis to take control of their own future with Quality of Life Plans.

Through initiatives I have already described, such as pre-K, summer jobs, and restorative justice in our schools, I hope to bridge the divide between our communities and help them all grow and work toward realizing their full potential.

With respect to bicycling, Mayor Ballard has put Indianapolis on the map when it comes to building a cycling friendly city. Through investment in dedicated bike lanes, greenways, and trails Indianapolis is now home to 200 miles of cycling space. As a result our city has been recognized as one of the top ten cycling-friendly cities in the country. The social impact is clearly positive, but this growth has also had a significant economic impact. The Cultural Trail has been responsible for contributing 11,000 new jobs and more than $860 million in economic benefits. Simply put, investing in cycling-friendly infrastructure is good for the community and good for the economy. This is a great legacy for Mayor Ballard and one that I intend to expand upon if elected.


What is the question you wish we would have asked?

[I wish you'd asked] "What is the most proud you have been of the city in recent years?"

Last year, I was filled with immense pride as an Indianapolis resident to see our city come together and show the state and the nation that Indy truly welcomes all. As someone who opposed the unnecessary RFRA legislation in committee, on the floor, and after its unfortunate passage, I thought it was a wonderful expression of our city's character. As mayor, I would support efforts in the next legislative session to extend the civil rights protections that residents of Indianapolis enjoy to all Hoosiers across the state.

If you could tell the state legislature something, what would it be?

Please ensure that state-funded pre-K programming is available for every child in Indiana.

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About The Author

Amber Stearns

Amber Stearns

Amber Stearns was born, raised, and educated right here in Indianapolis. She holds a B.S. in Communications from the University of Indianapolis (1995). Following a 20-year career in radio news in Indiana, Amber joined NUVO as News Editor in 2014.

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