When he first ran for mayor in 2015, Joe Hogsett said, if elected, he would serve only two terms.
Tuesday night, Hogsett announced he was seeking a third term as Indianapolis mayor.
“The answer is that the pandemic, I think, is responsible for the pursuit for a third term,” Hogsett told FOX59 News Wednesday. “The truth is that while much has been accomplished in the first term and as much as possible in the second term, it’s true that things have not been denied but delayed and I’m simply asking the people of Indianapolis to give me the opportunity to finish what has already been started.”
State Representative Robin Shackleford, a Democrat from the eastside, remembers Hogsett’s 2015 campaign pledge and will attempt to hold him to it and has announced her own challenge to the incumbent in next November’s election.
”We all know the mayor ran on term limits. We all know that he said eight years should be enough for a leader to be able to get done what they need to do so hearing from other people. Myself, I think that he’s done a great job in his eight years and it’s time for new mayor.”
The day Hogsett was first sworn in, January 1, 2016, Indianapolis was coming off a year that recorded 144 homicides and 448 non-fatal shootings.
Today, nearly seven years later, the City’s current annual tally stands at 204 homicides and 594 non-fatal shootings.
But, when comparing this year’s running total to the record homicide pace he presided over in 2021, Hogsett said, ”We’re already 15% fewer homicides than last year.”
The mayor has fallen short in his plan to boost IMPD’s workforce to 1743 officers, though police departments all across the country have also faced hiring shortfalls.
The Indianapolis Housing Agency, where Hogsett hired the most recent full-time executive director and appointed several board members, is in financial and operational disarray after a ransomware attack and the sell-off of public housing properties and scaling back of staff while resident maintenance complaints, and Section 8 waiting lists grow.
Despite spending more than $100 million to fix Indianapolis’ potholes, City streets remain pockmarked even during summer months.
$12 million set aside in the 2022 budget to begin construction on a permanent site to resolve Indianapolis’ homelessness issue remains unallocated as the number of persons without housing continue to populate downtown streets that still have not bounced back to their pre-pandemic levels of workers and visitors.
“We’ve got a five-year one billion dollar infrastructure package that we’re gonna be putting out,” said Hogsett, “and we hope to also encourage the Indiana General Assembly to change the road funding formula so that urban areas are treated a little bit more equitably, so there’s a wide variety of different accomplishments that the beginning has started and I want the opportunity to finish it up.”
Shackleford said communities like hers on the east side are not seeing the progress the mayor is touting.
”We haven’t seen the improvements when it came to economic development,” she said. “We haven’t seen the food deserts being solved. We haven’t seen our crime go down or our unemployment, so it’s not only our community. You have different communities across the city that feel the same way.”
Shackleford hopes her intra-party challenge will force the mayor to spend more time in neighborhoods such as her own answering questions from residents.
”I think that any time you have a qualified candidate presenting competition to you, that will force you to change your approach on how you’re actually listening to people. I would think that he would come out in the neighborhoods more.”
Marion County Republicans, while issuing a statement highlighting, “record violence and homicides, crumbling infrastructure, a failing downtown, undelivered public services and struggling neighborhoods across our once thriving city,” have not yet identified any challengers to Hogsett, and with only five members on the City-County Council and a candidate for prosecutor that could only muster 41% support during last week’s election, the GOP faces an uphill battle in pursuit of the mayor’s office in 2023.
Hogsett’s campaign war chest is estimated in excess of three million dollars.
In 2019, State Senator Jim Merritt garnered just 27% of the votes cast the last time Hogsett faced election.