"Carey Hamilton seeks Democratic endorsement in primaries
Thirteen years ago, Carey Hamilton — then just starting a career focused on environmental concerns, watched City-County Council meetings on government TV Channel 16 and took special note of then Councilor Susan Williams (who served on the CCC from 1985-’99) in action. She didn’t know Williams personally but admired her political savvy and effectiveness, thinking to herself, “Wow, wouldn’t that be a great opportunity to pursue someday?” Now, hoping to follow in the footsteps of her role model, Hamilton is running as the 4th District (96th on the north, 38th Street to the south, Graham Road and Emerson to the east and Keystone, roughly to the west) Democratic Candidate for City-County Council in the May 8 primary election facing her opponent, Pam Hickman.
Currently working as a consultant on environmental projects, Hamilton, 35, is entering politics because “in my years in the environmental field, I had a lot of success in getting good things done and I would love to take that experience into City Council.”
Her resume includes an internship with the Hoosier Environmental Council where she was involved in transportation planning after her 1994 graduation from IU. Then she worked in sustainable development with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, followed by a stint with the Indiana Department of Administration, where she was director of the state’s recycling program, spear-headed environmental policy and helped to create the “Greening the Government” program, which still exists. Later she moved to California where she was employed by the city of San Jose, working on energy issues and where she developed a program called “Cool Roofs,” which provided incentives to business that would install white roofs, making them energy efficient.
Running on a platform which emphasizes “safe, healthy and strong neighborhoods,” Hamilton wants to focus on “sustainable redevelopment, creating better mass transit and rebuilding more walkable communities,” and thinks she can make a difference in helping to move forward an environmental agenda for Indianapolis. Though comfortable with becoming known as the “Green Candidate,” Hamilton stresses that she is interested in other issues as well, such as public safety, public school advocacy and cost effective government.
Ultimately though, it may be her professional experience in the environmental field that will have the most impact not only for her district but for the entire city if she is elected to the council. Always conscious of tying economic benefits with changes that will improve the environment, Hamilton says, “We need to go back in as a city and do what we’ve done so well with downtown. Currently the older commercial areas are under-utilized — people have long distances to go to a decent grocery, the bank, etc.
“We need to spur redevelopment by working with various stakeholders — property owners and the neighborhoods to improve the infrastructure in sustainable ways and make sure these areas are more attractive to businesses so that they can best serve the neighborhood.”
Hamilton believes that sustainable redevelopment is possible within the context of fiscal responsibility, if groups can work creatively. She sites as an example the “bringing together of entities such as foundations that support walkable communities, neighborhood leaders and professionals in city government and then leverage human capital and grant resources to match local dollars — so as not to ask for more tax dollars.”
Hamilton, who lives with husband Derek and children Aidan, 4, and Leo, 2, in the Rolling Ridge subdivision near Allisonville Road and Kessler Boulevard, has other ideas about how older neighborhoods can be strengthened and benefit from what she calls, “connectivity.” Noting that most of her district was designed for cars, she would like to see more sidewalks built so that neighbors are connected to neighbors, neighborhoods to other neighborhoods and to the Greenway system. In so doing, she says that “our good schools, short commute downtown and — even better — the light rail transit system [proposed by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Planning Organization to include a corridor which would run right through the 4th district] could make our neighborhoods the most desirable in Indiana.”
Knocking on “about 2,500 doors so far” — an activity which she and her campaign team have engaged in for nearly three months — she forges ahead with her message that “sustainable redevelopment of our older suburbs is not a partisan issue — it’s a quality of life issue.” Convinced that the one-on-one method is the “best way to both get to know what needs to be done in the district and to get my name out there,” novice candidate Hamilton hopes that what she “brings to the table resonates with people. I’ve loved my career and I regard this as a job interview to extend it in a new way — to serve my district and continue to serve the public.”
For more on Hamilton: Hamilton4indy.org
Hamilton’s primary opponent
Pam Hickman is running against Carey Hamilton in next week’s primary elections. According to her campaign material, Hickman is a life-long resident of Marion County. Her family has lived here for 130 years. She has been married to Dr. Buzz Hickman, a cardiologist at St. Francis Hospital, for 42 years. They have three grown children and eight grandchildren.
Hickman is a graduate of Sacred Heart High School, Ball State University, a former teacher in the Indianapolis Public School System, as well as the Indiana State School for the Deaf. She is also a certified graduate gemologist and the immediate past president for the state chapter, a certified member of the International Society of Appraisers and present president of the state organization.
She is also a member of the formation committee for St Francis Hospital Hospice House, a past president of the American Heart Association Board, where she also served on various committees and chaired the Heart of God Ball, advisor to the J.T. Hand Foundation, a member of the National Association of Women Business Owners, Women Jewelers Association Midwest chapter, a member of the the downtown Kiwanis Club and a Business Network International chapter.
For more on Pam Hickman and her campaign, go to www.votepamhickman.com.