Hogsett, Merritt Both Running on Same Issues in General Election
INDIANAPOLIS--Mayor Joe Hogsett is the Democrat nominee for mayor of Indianapolis, a job he will hold for another four years if he can beat Republican challenger Jim Merritt, a state senator. Both men won their nominations in the primary election Tuesday.
Both men are running on some of the same issues: public safety, roads and bridges, and economic development.
"The funding is in place for 150 new police officers," said Hogsett. He said the city has also increased pay for new officers, which he believes will help recruiting efforts. "Our challenge is not so much where are we gonna get the money, because Republicans and Democrats on the City-County Council have been very supportive. Our challenge is, where are we gonna get the new officers?"
Merritt countered that he has a crime plan to be released in June. He did not elaborate on what that might entail.
"It seems as though every time you wake up in the morning, and this is totally unacceptable, somebody else in our community has been shot," said Merritt. "I believe in community policing, but I also believe in our police being embedded in the neighborhoods."
Merritt said he wants to see a police officer's job be less about paper work and more about the work they do on the street.
"When the mayor ran last time he talked about being his own public safety director and the proof would be in the pudding. Frankly, that pudding is spoiled now."
Merritt also challenged Hogsett on economic development issues, saying he believes cities like Columbus, Ohio and Nasville are passing Indianapolis by.
"I will visit the world. Any mission that the governor of Indiana takes, the mayor of Indianapolis needs to be there lock-step. We need to bring people to Indianapolis," said Merritt, saying if former Mayor Ballard had not visited Indiana, Infosys would not be in Indy now.
Hogsett said he would stay the course on development downtown. He also said he wants to invest in quality of life points like parks.
The mayor said the council has passed a $400 million, four-year plan to tackle potholes and the city's aging roads and bridges.
Merritt said infrastructure is one part of his three-point plan.
PHOTO: WISH TV