- Amber Stearns
It was dark. It was cold.
But more than 200 people gathered in Dr. Martin Luther King Park to hear former U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett officially announce his campaign for mayor of Indianapolis.
The image of Dr. King and U.S. Senator Bobby Kennedy reaching toward each other served as a canopy for Hogsett who reflected on the meaning of the park and the need for a united city.
“You know, sometimes I wonder If Senator Kennedy and Dr. King, if only for a moment, could come back and walk through this park, would they think that the dream of peace and progress that they so eloquently spoke of had been achieved?”
Hogsett pointed to the issues of crime, education, and neighborhood investment as areas in which “Indianapolis must do better.” Then he asked for supporters to join him in re-kindling the spirit that he believes is embodied in the park to move Indianapolis forward.
Hogsett listed the ways he thought he could do better as Indy’s mayor including the return of community policing to neighborhoods; investment in neighborhoods, educational needs and job creation.
At about the same time former U.S. Senator Evan Bayh was introducing Hogsett, Marion County Republican Chairman Kyle Walker sent an email with his response to Hogsett’s candidacy announcement.
"Joe Hogsett has been rejected by voters three times and next year will be the fourth; either in May or November. Hogsett's unwillingness to support pre-k for low-income families is one of the many reasons he is wrong for Indianapolis."
The statement refers to Hogsett’s failed U.S. Senate run in 1992, his failed congressional run in the 2nd District in 1994, and his failed run for Attorney General in 2004. Walker’s comment also refers to an op-ed column Hogsett wrote in September condemning Mayor Ballard’s proposal to fund a pilot pre-kindergarten program with money set aside for the homestead property tax credit.
But Hogsett addressed that issue in his speech by supporting the recent efforts of City-County Council Democrats while issuing a subtle insult to Mayor Ballard and Republicans who supported the first plan.
“I’ve also witnessed the very best our city has to offer… city leaders who put aside the need to get a win for their own political party in order to achieve a victory for the young pre-school children across Indianapolis.”
Hogsett did close the speech with more words of unification in Indianapolis, regardless of party, upbringing and all the other divisive things saying, “Now is the time for Indianapolis to dream once again.”
District 86 State Representative Ed Delaney has been kicking around the idea of a run for mayor but has yet to make any official announcement. Delaney was just re-elected to his statehouse seat last week. Center Township Trustee Frank Short was considering a mayoral run but quickly withdrew his consideration and gave Hogsett his support shortly after Hogsett announced his exploratory committee.
With Mayor Ballard announcing he will not seek a third term, the Republican ticket is wide open. No one has formally announced any plans yet to seek the office for the GOP.
Sam Carson, Jr., son of the late Congresswoman Julia Carson, informed NUVO in September that he would also be making a run for the Indy mayor’s office, this year as an independent. Carson ran for mayor as a Democrat in the 2011 primary, but was one of three defeated by Melina Kennedy.