Friday, February 12, 2010

Race For At-Large Council Seat Getting Crowded

The resignation of Kent Smith (R), at-large city-councilor, has opened a spirited race to replace him at a caucus of Marion Co. GOP committeepersons to be held next month. The list currently includes the following declared and undeclared candidates: Aaron Williams, Angel Rivera, Bruce Schumacher, Michael Jezierski, Dorothy Henry and Chris Douglas. Some party leaders are pushing the meme that only a minority candidate should be considered to replace Smith because he was one of two at-large city-county councilors who are African-American, Barbara Malone being the other one. Personally, as an elected GOP committeeperson, I believe the party should pick a person based on merit and not skin color or ethnicity. Here's a quick rundown of the candidates' backgrounds:

People should be asking why Williams, a community liaison at IMPD, should not be disqualified from running for a partisan office because of potential violation of the Little Hatch Act. The Ballard administration created this job specifically for Williams, who is the son of Deputy Mayor Olgen Williams. Detractors claim Williams does little other than ride around town with his father showing up at prayer vigils conducted by African-American ministers, stand in front of the TV cameras and look for ways to give taxpayers money to groups run by his father's friends, which simply pretend to be engaged in crime prevention efforts. Persons who worked with Williams during his brief stint working on a federal grant program administered by the U.S. Attorney's office found him to be a difficult person and incapable of following rules.

Bruce Schumacher, who works for the Indianapolis Indians, a minor league baseball team principally owned by his family, narrowly lost to Angela Mansfield in the 2007 municipal election. Schumacher is familiar to many precinct committeepersons as one himself, has excellent business experience and is a proven vote-getter against a popular incumbent.

Dorothy Henry just completed a term on the Capital Improvement Board of Managers and has worked for the Indiana Health Care Association, which lobbies the state on behalf of the nursing home industry. Her husband, Bruce, has been an IMPD officer and is currently serving as Human Resources Director for City-County government. His job inevitably creates conflicts of interest for his wife should she be appointed to the council. It would be difficult for Henry to exercise any independent judgment knowing that her husband's job came about as a result of a mayoral appointment.

Angel Rivera is a committeeperson who has served as president of the Downtown GOP club. He has close ties to Marion Co. GOP leadership. Rivera is employed by The Consultants Consortium (TCC), a local software consulting business.

Michael Jezierski, an electrical engineer by occupation, has been very active in the party as an elected committeeperson and as a local political blogger. He unsuccessfully sought election as an at-large city-county council candidate in 2007 after being slated by the party. Barbara Malone, an unslated candidate, edged him out in the primary. Jezierski is currently employed as an IT professional for a Marion-county based manufacturer.

Chris Douglas owns his own business offering financial advice to investors. Douglas founded Indianapolis' Rainbow Chamber of Commerce and is a precinct committeeperson. He sought appointment last year to the senate seat vacated by Teresa Lubbers. Douglas dropped his bid at the opening of the slating convention to fill that seat after he failed to garner significant support. If Douglas is chosen, he would be the first openly gay member of the City-County Council.


SW Lane said...

Cant they just choose the guy who got edged out by Joanne Sanders? He lost by 1000 votes or less, to the councilor Coleman who jumped ship to the libertarians.

The Indy Patriot said...

Well before the R's go for Dorothy Henry they should take the time to go review the financial situation over at IHCA where she serves as COO. And look at the last 5 audits not just the one they like to share.

Paul K. Ogden said...

More so than the conflict of interest, I would not want Dorothy Henry because of her performance on the CIB. She did not question the tax increases and, in fact, promoted them at public meetings. She never once questioned how the CIB was being run. She never once questioned giving the Pacers $15 million more even though the contract doesn't require that. She's been the ultimate rubber stamp on the CIB. So why should we elect her to the council?

Unknown said...

Has anyone considered Carlos May for an interm Councilor? He just won the Republican slating for the 7th District and would be a perfect person to represent the people of Indianapolis while the party found a candidate that could hold the seat long term. He obviously has the party support and is a team player when it comes to supporting the needs of Republicans. I think we all want a Republican long term and an extra few months to make sure we had the right person running just makes sense.

Gary R. Welsh said...

I don't think Carlos wants to campaign for two jobs at the same time. He still faces a primary against Marvin Scott. If he ran for the open council seat, he would have to devote all of his energy to lobbying PCs over the next month instead of campaigning for Congress. I think that would be a bit awkward for him and open him up to criticism he could do without.