On November 3, a select group of Indianapolis residents will elect the next mayor of Indianapolis.
I say "a select group" because voter turnout in the Circle City is projected to be the lowest in the history of local elections, averaging around 7 percent. That would be considerably lower than the re-election of outgoing Mayor Greg Ballard in 2011. Only 11 percent of eligible voters in Marion County cast a ballot in that election.
Registered voters who have voted in presidential elections but tend to shy away from local elections have said their "apathy" is rooted in a lack of knowledge about the candidates. They don't feel comfortable making an uneducated vote so they choose not to cast a vote at all, thus leaving the decision to a select group of voters who are either dedicated to their party or have taken the time to educate themselves on the candidates and the issues.
Well, this week's NUVO leaves registered voters with no more excuses. It's time to learn about the choices for the next mayor of Indianapolis. The mayor is the chief executive of Indianapolis and Marion County. Much like the structure of our state and federal governments, the mayor sits at the top of the executive branch of city government, while the city-county council is relative to the legislative branches. (We'll explore the council coming up in later pages.) The path of the city and the mayor's office was established when then-Mayor Richard Lugar established the Unigov system in Indianapolis after taking office in 1968.
NUVO asked the two mayoral candidates officially listed on the ballot a series of issue questions to get a sense of where these two men stand. The issues include income equality, homelessness and poverty, mass transit, public safety, education, quality of life, and global warming.
Joe Hogsett (Democrat)
Joe Hogsett is an Indiana native and has been a public servant for nearly three decades. An attorney by trade, Hogsett served as deputy to Evan Bayh as secretary of state in 1986. Hogsett was appointed to the top spot when Bayh vacated the position following his election to governor two years later. Most recently he served as U.S. attorney in the southern district of Indiana from 2010 to 2014. He resigned the post to run for mayor of Indianapolis.
Chuck Brewer (Republican)
Chuck Brewer is a native New Yorker who settled in Indianapolis to run a business and raise his family. A self-described "business guy," Brewer owns two restaurant franchises, both of which are located in the heart of downtown Indianapolis. Brewer is also a Lieutenant Colonel in the United State Marine Corps Reserves; he has served two combat tours in Iraq and a tour at the Pentagon. His run for mayor is his first time running for political office.
A note on the questions:
To keep everything completely fair — and to allow for thoughtful responses — we submitted the candidates questions via email. You'll note that Brewer went point-by-point and Hogsett answered in a slightly broader fashion.