District 2 of the Indianapolis City-County Council covers the north central side of the city. Incumbent Republican Colleen Fanning was first elected as councillor in 2015. Depending on the outcome of the primary election, she will face one of two Democratic challengers in the general election in November: Keith Potts or Thye Petty.
Keith Potts is 29 years old and works in the performing arts, teaching after-school music classes and working with local not-for-profit arts organizations. He brings hard work, dedication, and energy to his work, and is focusing his campaign on our city's infrastructure needs, a local economy centered on inclusive growth, and public safety. Keith and his husband, Bryan, own a home on the north side of Indianapolis. They have a rambunctious dog named Mak who loves peanut butter and walks on the Monon.
[Editor’s note: The following questions were the top six most popular questions submitted by and voted upon by NUVO readers. Petty and Fanning did not return their answers before the primary election.]
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.?
Potts: One of the most important aspects of the constituent-to-councillor relationship is trust. So electing a councillor who shares and relates to their constituents’ experiences, and who listens to their constituents from every corner of the district, is crucial to establishing and maintaining that trust. As your councillor, I will engage directly with the community to see where improvements can be made, I will work with our partners in the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors to secure the needed resources, and I will keep lines of communication open so we can continue to improve and grow our communities, our district, and our city.
NUVO: I want to know how they are going to support the public school system.
Potts: Public schools are a critical part of our county’s education system. And while funding and regulation for public schools falls under the purview of our state legislature, our City-County Council can work directly with communities to find opportunities to enhance the education experience of all students in Marion County.
NUVO: What are your plans to help Indianapolis have a more equitable distribution of resources to help marginalized communities without contributing to gentrification?
Potts: When seeking to assist communities, the most important aspect is directly engaging with the communities themselves. Any development or resource allocation must keep in mind the element of inclusive growth that is necessary to building and growing strong communities. And communities must have an open line of communication with their councillor, and feel respected and heard as they provide feedback and concerns on any projects, plans, or developments.
NUVO: How will you address the pothole problem?
Potts: Potholes don’t have a political party, nor do their solutions. That’s why I was glad to see infrastructure spending pass with unanimous support from our City-County Council. And our department of public works has been hard at work filling and repairing over 250,000 potholes since the start of 2019. In order to address this symptom of past underfunded road projects, communities must have a relationship with their councillor, and trust that they will advocate for the best interests of their entire district.
NUVO: What will you do to encourage the increased use of alternate (non motor vehicle) forms of transportation in the city?
Potts: In addition to our incoming rapid transit system, residents should be encouraged to take advantage of our bike and walking trails for those who are able. Additionally, we should work to make those greenways even more accessible and user-friendly: by connecting those paths to neighborhood centers and transit lines, our communities become more connected and can contribute to environmentally friendly efforts.
NUVO: How do you feel about decriminalizing possession of personal amounts of cannabis, as other large cities have done?
Potts: Our Indianapolis City-County Council by state law does not have the authority to take that action, so I would recommend voters directly contact their state senator, state representative, and the governor’s office to encourage them to examine this issue.