Southsider Jefferson Shreve is on a history-making campaign in his run to become the next mayor of Indianapolis.
His roots are on the Southside where he and his wife Mary also live, making him the first potential mayor from the Southside since Uni-Gov was formed. He grew up as a kid just a few houses from Boyden’s Bakery where he rode his bike and played in the streets. He has many uncles who live in Perry Township where he enjoys family gatherings. Brother-in-law Jack Martin was in the audience when he spoke last week with the Franklin Township Chamber of Commerce at Wheatley’s in Wanamaker.
Shreve also would become the first mayor of Indianapolis with previous experience on the governing City-County Council; he knows how city government should work together for the people.
He reinforced his main campaign message and answered questions from chamber members about the township and the Southside on Sept. 12.
Shreve’s campaign is quite simple and hits home on the issue of public safety in his message to defeat Democrat incumbent Mayor Joe Hogsett who is running for a third four-year term. Shreve’s assets are his success as an entrepreneur, a graduate of both Indiana and Purdue universities, who founded expanded Storage Express from one building into the state’s largest storage facility and his varied experiences as a City-County Council member.
In front of the Franklin Township C of C, Shreve talked at ease about his candidacy as the Republican candidate, who won a three-way race in this year’s primary election.
“Until this year, I didn’t wake up every day thinking of myself as a politician,” Shreve said with honesty. “I always thought of myself as a small business guy. It has been an extraordinary, not always easy, adjustment to go from the sovereignty of owning and growing a pretty successful business and opening up your life for dissection.
“I went into this (candidacy) because I’m convinced that I have something different and better than what we have seen in the Hogsett administration,” Shreve said last week. “It’s a vote (Nov. 7) this year to retire an incumbent … he has to run on what he’s done. He’s vulnerable for a change, and that’s the argument that I’m making.”
PUBLIC SAFETY Shreve emphasized many points in his remarks last week pertaining to public safety, solving crimes, hiring a public safety director, getting violent offenders off the streets with improved policing prosecutions, making a human relations head as a member of his cabinet, facing financial infrastructure shortfalls, examining the various needs of townships in Marion County, and growing Indianapolis.
“The problem (public safety) is not enough police,” Shreve cautioned. “We have 170 fewer officers on the force than when Mayor Hogsett took office. The City-County Council has authorized 1,843 officers; so the problem isn’t money, it’s leadership. This administration has done nothing to be able to retain and attract sufficient numbers of men and women who chose to serve on IMPD … they don’t have the numbers or the time to be forward engaged to get ahead of some of the crime before it becomes a violent crime … you have to back our police and support them in the work they are trained to do. In my mind, the mayor has not supported the police.”
Shreve proposes raising the hiring age of IMPD officers to 40 years from its existing 35 years to attract more experienced law enforcement professionals, provide higher pay for officers and retention bonuses for deserving officers, ensure the training and support needed, and engage in proactive policing with a fully staffed force of officers.
Shreve emphasized that IMPD’s solve rate was 80 percent during Mayor Greg Ballard’s second term and is only 34 percent under Mayor Hogsett. And he called for more prosecutions of offenders from the prosecutor’s office. Shreve also has Ballard’s support.
“What we have is a revolving door on too many fronts in Marion County,” Shreve said. “It’s hard for a Democrat mayor to be critical of a Democrat prosecutor; it won’t be that hard for me. Our police can’t do their work unless the prosecutor does his work.”
‘EAGER TO GROW OUR CITY’ Looking at the city’s growth and development, Shreve observed, “Indianapolis is flat and not growing (while) the region and the donuts (adjacent counties) are growing. “We are not at our potential. I am eager to grow our city in a way that attracts human talent who want to make their careers and live in the county and attract investment capital; it’s important that we make Indianapolis a safe place to live.”
Shreve said he favors partnering with private development and investment opportunities for the city which should not be owning and building hotels or apartments because that puts a burden on taxpayers and places existing hotels and apartments at a disadvantage.
“I want to work with them (developers); I don’t want to compete with them,” Shreve stated.
Shreve rightfully pointed out that the needs of townships in Marion County differ, especially how they perceive residential and commercial development.
“One size doesn’t fit all and not every township wants the same,” Shreve said.
He pointed out that Franklin Township’s tax base is primarily residential while Perry Township has a good slice of retail, particularly with the U.S 31 and Ind. 135 corridors. Decatur Township citizens would like a cap on distribution warehouses. He also expects commercial and business growth when I-465 and extended I-69 are connected on the Southside.
Meanwhile, Shreve looks forward to Election Day (Tuesday, Nov. 7).
“My first 30 days begins Nov. 8,” Shreve said confidently. “You have to be lined up and ready to go on Jan. 1, then you’re ready to move in when you get the keys to the 25th floor (mayor’s office).”
Throughout his campaign trail, Shreve takes his Southside and Catholic roots with him as he makes an impact throughout Indianapolis and pursues a history-making Election Day.
TELEVISED DEBATES Challenger Shreve and incumbent Mayor Hogsett will engage in two future televised debates. The first debate is to be on WISH-TV, Channel 8, Monday, Oct. 23 at 6 p.m. The second debate is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 26 on Fox59 and CBS4 at 7 p.m.
Southsider and Republican candidate for Indianapolis mayor, Jefferson Shreve, talks about his Southside roots and his goals for public safety with members of the Franklin Township Chamber of Commerce at Wheatley’s in Wanamaker. (SOUTHSIDER VOICE PHOTOS BY AL STILLEY)
Members of the Franklin Township Chamber of Commerce gather with Indianapolis mayoral candidate Jefferson Shreve, middle, at Wheatley’s in Wanamaker. Members are, from left, vice president Dak Darling, Dustin Robbins, John Martin, Shreve, president David Brenton, Nancy VanArendonk, Deborah Jones, and Jenny Meineker.