District 15 of the Indianapolis City-County Council covers part of the west side of the city. Republican Marilyn Pfisterer is not running for re-election. Her seat is currently filled by Republican Andy Harris, who will face one of two Democrats in the general election: Bryan Chatfield or Jessica McCormick.
Bryan Chatfield is an experienced community leader with a proven track record in establishing instant credibility through eliciting trust, confidence, and inspiring others to work together for the improvement of their communities. Currently, Mr. Chatfield serves as Associate Director of Holy Family Shelter where he is responsible for overall client services and the oversight of the daily operations of the emergency shelter and Transitional Housing Programs. When not working Bryan enjoys searching for antique treasures at various antique shops, reading, listening to music, and spending time with his beautiful wife, DuJuanna Chatfield.
Hello everyone, my name is Andy Harris and I was sworn in Saturday, April 20 as the new Councillor for District 15. I was sworn in because the Councillor Marilyn Pfisterer has decided to retire and enjoy the good life. I am also humbled to have her 100 percent support and endorsement.
I want to thank former Councillor Marilyn Pfisterer for her almost 16 years of service as a Councillor to our community.
Marilyn Pfisterer has set the bar high, but I believe my 16 years of experience holding various positions as a Deputy Tax Assessor, GIS Mapping Specialist to Chief Deputy Tax Assessor gives me a vast amount of experience of property taxes over anyone. Along with overseeing Mayor Greg Ballard’s Mayor Neighborhood Liaisons and constitutes concerns also has given me experience to expedite constituent concerns that will result in results for the community.
Being elected by the people for eight years as their Wayne Township Trustee that oversaw the Wayne Township Fire Department and township Emergency Assistance for the Town of Speedway and all of Wayne Township. Under my leadership I took the fire department from a rated Class 3 to a Class 1 fire department, and this has never been done under any Wayne Township Trustee. I was also humbled to win Trustee of the Year and also Township of the year by Democrats and Republicans for my dedication to our community.
I have learned to serve everyone in a way Christ, my wife, family, friends and constituents would be proud.
I am hear to listen, but prefer 1 on 1, or 1 on several others involved conversations in person. I have seen how social media will twist and turn what a person says. I won’t play politics with District 15, my life is about service to all, keeping in mind to provide us all a strong public safety team that have the right resources to keep us all safe and fighting for dollars for rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure are a couple hot topics issues that have been brought to my attention.
I have learned to listen, put District 15 first and have follow up on concerns will help us/me be successful for the District.
My wife Kim, and I oversee the food pantry at Chapel Rock Christian Church, are members of the Ben Davis Lions Club and West Side Kiwanis to mention just a couple service organizations.
I look forward to meeting you all. If you want to be on my email list for only District 15 updates, NO sales, jokes or politics on my email newsletters please inbox me your name, address to verify you are in District 15 and email. I want to keep emails to my constituents. You can also follow me on Facebook at Andy Harris for Indianapolis City County Council District 15.
NUVO: How will you address quality of life issues for Indianapolis residents — affordable housing, food deserts, transportation options for those without cars, air quality, water quality, schools, green space, sustainability, recycling, lack of park funding, etc.?
Chatfield: To keep and attract talent to this great city we must make access to affordable housing, transportation, and quality schools a priority. I plan to use my outreach and community advocacy experience to bring together residents in an effort to hear from the community. It’s my belief that residents that live in our communities know their needs and wants best. If chosen to represent district 15, I will make a point to hear from the community before making big decisions that have a direct effect on my neighbors.
Harris: Mass Transit: The voters passed a way to pay for mass transit and if elected it will be my job to make sure every dollar raised is used for this cause and not diverted to other proposed needs. Indy is quickly changing into a community that want these resources. I know residents on the west side made it clear by voting 57 percent for it, and it is my job to make sure that we be good stewards to the taxpayers investments. I am also excited at the recently received grants to fund more connectivity to the B&O Trails connecting the west side to downtown.
Quality Of Life & Green Space: This starts with a safe environment by all to have to work and play. We need more police officers with our continued growing population and those officers need the tools to do their job effectively. Once a safe environment is given, I truly believe others will become more engaged in our community. Along with this comes holding criminals accountable. My family has been a victim of mass murders, home invasions, burglary and vehicle being broken into. I have heard these criminals say to me “to let them go because the system will have me out in eight hours and that they are not going to do anything”. Until we crack down hard on punishments, this will continue. I hope to work with prosecutors and judges to hold these criminals accountable.
Green Space: We have too many vacant properties in our community that can be used for green spaces, but the rules of getting them need to be less stringent to not for profits that want to develop them for their communities.
Food Deserts: This is a growing concern in our community. My wife and I have overseen the largest food pantry on the west side of Indianapolis that serves over 1,200 monthly. We hear the concerns of the residents and want to work more closely with avenues to get food resources to those in need. This is close to my heart and want to be a leader fighting for this cause.
Affordable Housing: As single father raising a little girl on my own for 12 years, before getting remarried, I have seen parents struggle with SAFE affordable housing. Many in our community feel just having a cheap place to live is affordable housing. I believe working with INHRP and other resources that can teach the skills of what it takes to get SAFE affordable housing. I believe that we must take a lot of these homes that are vacated and owned by the city and redevelop them. This is why as the former Township Trustee and Board Member with Indy
Gateway over the last few years I have donated 0ver $50,000 to causes like IndyGateway on the west side of Indy that renovates homes and also builds new homes for families to purchase at a reasonable price. I want to work more closely with the city to make this happen more and with more high schools and community programs that teaches construction skills to high school age and older people.
Park Funding: We as a city need to look over our bank of properties in parks and see if there maybe a better use of that property that the community supports. This could develop a funding stream through the possible sale of properties.
NUVO: I want to know how they are going to support the public school system.
Chatfield: I plan to support the public school system by empowering parents with the information needed to advocate for high expectations and accountability from school leaders as well as policy makers on the federal, state, and local levels. Parents are often told what’s best for their children and do not play a major role in the policy making. The more we empower parents, the stronger the public school system will become.
Harris: I believe finding the right teacher is important in everyone’s success. I believe these teachers are all over, but mostly in our pubic school system. I am a proud dad of a young lady who just graduated college for elementary education, and who will be teaching in public schools. It is important these teachers are given the proper tools and time to work with these kids. I have seen where the system will push teachers to only teach to take a test.
NUVO: What are your plans to help Indianapolis have a more equitable distribution of resources to help marginalized communities without contributing to gentrification?
Chatfield: Indianapolis has seen a lot of growth in economic development in the last decade, but we also have seen hug gaps in access to affordable housing. I believe we should look at what other cities are doing to address the equitable distribution of resources. By introducing policy ideas like Inclusionary Zoning, where developers are asked to invest in our community by promising a negotiated percentage of affable housing units to be built along with market rate units.
Harris: As mentioned above, we can take countless amount of city owned vacant properties in all ranges of community styles and pricing and use many school skilled trade programs, BUILD (this is a program that teaches skilled trades of home construction and remodeling to to high school age kids and young adults) programs on the west side by Pastor Covington to help rejuvenate these homes. Once this is done, we then work with INHRP to help make sure the recipients have the resources to keep and maintain a home.
NUVO: How will you address the pothole problem?
Chatfield: We often use the excuse that we can’t afford to address the pothole issue we face every year, and because of this low-income communities are often left out of some public works projects or end up on the bottom of the list to get potholes fixed in their communities. I plan to seek public-private partnerships in an effort to poll resources needed to fill in funding gaps. This will give the Department of Public Works the needed resources to find a sustainable fix to the pothole issue that impacts all communities.
Harris: We must look into better resources of materials and product of fixing potholes. Cold patch is used too much to save money, but in the long run the holes reappear. A major concern in our neighborhoods is that developers are not being held accountable for a longer time with development standards being established.
NUVO: What will you do to encourage the increased use of alternate (non motor vehicle) forms of transportation in the city?
Chatfield: In order to encourage the use of non-motor vehicles, we must first expand access to public transportation. I plan to work with groups like Indy Connect, and other community stakeholders to advocate for frequent, reliable, and safe transit. When we increase access, we can then begin to encourage use of all transportation options in Indianapolis. Advocating for mass transit will be a priority of mine if elected.
Harris: As discussed above, we have more trails coming to the west side through the district. We will be able to walk and bike more often to work and play. I support more connect-ability.
NUVO: How do you feel about decriminalizing possession of personal amounts of cannabis, as other large cities have done?
Chatfield: There are many reasons we should decriminalize possession of small amounts of cannabis. One is that communities of color are disproportionately arrested for marijuana even though white citizens use marijuana at similar rates. I also believe law enforcement resources should be use to fight violent crimes instead of low-level offenses for small amounts of marijuana.
Harris: There would have to be an effective way of testing offenders and holding them accountable. Many more laws of enforcement with have to be established by legislators. Buzzed driving through alcohol or drugs is illegal and I would want that controlled for the safety of the community.