Indianapolis Marion County Election 2019

Local candidates running for mayor and city council

By Nancy Price

Election Day is Nov. 5. There are three candidates running for Indianapolis-Marion County mayor: Joe Hogsett (D), is running for re-election; Douglas John McNaughton (L); and James W. Merritt, Jr. (R) are running against Hogsett. Candidates featured in this issue that are running for contested office have listed their experience, education and qualifications. Remember to vote next Tuesday!

Indianapolis-Marion County Mayor

Joe Hogsett (D)

Why do you want to be re-elected as mayor?

I have laid out a plan that will invest $400 million on Indy’s roads, streets and sidewalks over the next few years. This year we will direct nearly $4 million to grassroots organizations and neighborhood-based efforts that are working to tackle the root causes of violent crime. We focus on programs that holistically address substance abuse and mental illness, including the opening of the Reuben Engagement Center, where those in crises can be diverted from the criminal justice system and connected to wraparound services and treatment programs. We have seen major investment in Indianapolis, including thousands of new jobs brought into our city.

What are your qualifications to be mayor?

I was elected as Indianapolis mayor in November 2015. Previously, I served as a federal prosecutor for the Southern District of Indiana for four years. I launched the office’s first Public Corruption Working Group, a Civil Rights Task Force, as well as a groundbreaking Violent Crime Initiative focused on punishing illegally-armed felons. I served for six years as Indiana’s Secretary of State and I have more than 20 years of experience in the private practice of law.

What are three priorities that you would like to achieve if elected mayor?

  • Improving our infrastructure.
  • Increasing public safety & criminal justice reform.
  • Creating a city where prosperity and opportunities are attainable for all. I launched Indy Achieves, an education program providing millions in scholarships and grants to low-income students attending Ivy Tech and IUPUI, helping to increase the number of Marion County residents qualified for the jobs of the 21st

Indianapolis-Marion County Mayor

Douglas John McNaughton (L)

Why do you want to be elected as mayor?

I am running for mayor of Indianapolis for three basic reasons: Indianapolis deserves to have real choices in whom they choose to run this city. I believe strongly in the old adage of teaching a man to fish, although I don’t mind sharing the fish during the learning curve. I believe I can do a better job of improving the economic and social climate of this city because I believe in doing what works, not simply what a political party or existing organization would have me do.

What are your qualifications to be mayor?

I think that by being an automation engineer instead of a career politician, I am uniquely qualified by my diverse experience and professional eye for systems integration. I do not have tunnel vision when it comes to seeing potential in our city. I am a life member of the Libertarian Party.

What are three priorities that you would like to achieve if elected mayor?

  1. Many studies have reported that it is more cost effective to reach out to at-risk youth than it is to jail them after the crimes have been committed and habits forms. We need to stop putting non-violent offenders and victimless crime offenders behind bars and spend those dollars on rehabilitation.
  2. Many cities in Central and South America address homelessness directly by having homeless encampments that are very close to main lines of public transportation, along with having centers of assistance, with job training and placement services also close by.  These services would also include a mental health screening.
  3. I would propose road funding allocation not only be based on lane miles, but also on the construction criteria as well.  A road built to an 80-ton standard will clearly have more commercial traffic that a road built to a 30-ton standard.

Indianapolis-Marion County Mayor

James W. Merritt Jr. (R)

Why do you want to become mayor?

After record homicides in the last three years and not seeing a change of course from the current mayor, I decided I needed to step up. Infrastructure, public safety and pride in the city are my concerns and the concerns of most citizens. I have proven leadership qualities that have come from serving as an elected state senator for many years which I will bring to the mayor’s office.

What are your qualifications to be mayor?

I have private sector experience running a company with 160 employees. I serve in leadership at the Indiana Statehouse. And I have written legislation addressing major concerns in Indianapolis and in Indiana and understand what needs to be done to serve all citizens of Indianapolis. Homelessness, hunger, abandoned houses and drug addiction are poisons to a community and issues that must be addressed.

What are three priorities that you would like to achieve if elected mayor?

  • Public safety. I want to return to the days where people can walk around without concern for safety.
  • I will create a bona-fide infrastructure plan for our roads. This plan will allow Indianapolis to thrive for decades to come.
  • I will emphasize job retention, new job creation and additional economic development for our capitol city. I will work with businesses and schools to enhance workforce development throughout Indianapolis. One of my top priorities will be to make Indianapolis the best city to live, work and raise a family.

Indianapolis-Marion County City Council


Kristin Jones (D)

Background: I am running for City-County Council because I love my community. I have served as a volunteer for Mary Rigg Neighborhood Center, Concord Center, West Indy Public Library, our local churches and Riley Children’s Hospital. If you don’t know anything about me, please remember two things: I am relentless; I get results! I look forward to continuing my service to our community.

Occupation: I am the director of Community Engagement at The Julian Center.

Personal: I’ve lived in Center Township for 25 years with my husband and two children.


Mike Smith (Green)

Background: I am a U.S. Army veteran, a member of the OSSNA Land Use team, a member of the S.E. Land Use Task Force and a proud member of the S.E. Working Class Task Force, as well as a volunteer chaplain. I am running to fight for the working class, against special interests, to remind the government that it works for us and to build a true, viable and organic community. It’s time to end the failed two-party system.

Occupation: I am a culinary supervisor chef.

Personal: I have lived in Center Township for over 16 years.


Laura Giffel (R)

Background: I’ve served on the neighborhood association board as treasurer, vice president and currently in my second year as president. During this time, I’ve led the efforts to restructure the board and is proud of the work to achieve tax-exempt status as a 501(c)3 charitable organization and ensure the financial stability of the organization.

Occupation: I am a licensed mental health counselor and board-certified behavior analyst at a local nonprofit clinic. I work daily with the most needy children in our area to help their families grow.

Personal: I have been a resident of Bates-Hendricks in Center Township for the past five years.

Indianapolis-Marion County City Council


Duane Ingram (D)

Background: I am excited to bring my over 13 years of experience in community development to the council. I’ve helped build strong communities, grow businesses, create jobs and fight for safe neighborhoods.

Occupation: I am the Chief Operating Officer for a growing security company.

Personal: I have been a resident of Warren Township for over six years. I’ve been married to my wife, Daarina Ingram, for 13 years now, and we have one fur baby named Gracie.


Michael-Paul Hart (R)

Background: I am a local advocate whose priority is the citizens of Indianapolis. Knowing first-hand the challenges of working full time while trying to raise a family and attend college, I worked eight years to graduate college. I am running because I have a strong work ethic and am well organized. My goals are making our city safer and improving our infrastructure.

Occupation: I am a senior consultant for VMware, a global technology company and a small business owner.

Personal: I am a lifelong resident of Marion County and a proud father and family man.


Phil Webster (D)

Background: I have a bachelor’s degree from Milligan College and a master’s degree from Purdue University. I am a member of the Indiana High School Baseball Coach’s Hall of Fame. I want to stand up for the people of the southwest side of Indianapolis, so they get a fair return on their taxes in government services that improve the quality of their lives.

Occupation: I am a retired social studies teacher and currently the varsity baseball coach at Southport High School.

Personal: I am married to Lorrie and we have three children and six grandchildren.


Jason Holliday (R)

Background: I graduated from Decatur Central High School, as well as Franklin College. Within government, I was elected to serve on the Indianapolis-Marion County City-County Council, several terms on the Decatur Township Board and elected to serve as the Decatur Township assessor. I spent several years as one of the township administrators for the city of Indianapolis.

Occupation: I’ve worked in various capacities in both the private and governmental sectors. Within the private sector, I’ve been vice president of a company an in charge of its day-to-day operations, as well as success.

Personal: I am a lifelong resident of the southwest side of Indianapolis.


Frank Mascari (D)

Background: I am past president of the Beech Grove Lions Club. I’ve also helped coach Beech Grove Little League. I was inducted into the Beech Grove Wall of Fame at the high school.

Occupation: I have owned and operated Spalding Jewelers on Main Street in Beech Grove for over 36 years.

Personal: I’m a lifelong resident of Beech Grove. I’ve been married to Mary Mascari for 43 years. We have three children and five grandchildren.


Tyler Richardson (R)

Background: I’m a community advocate on the southeast side. I’m a member of the Southeast Neighborhoods Economic Development team and a member of the Marion County Bipartisan Infrastructure Commission aimed at finding solutions to repair and maintain the city’s roads, sidewalks and alleys.

Occupation: I’m a small business owner and a Certified Public Accountant.

Personal: I’ve lived in the Fountain Square neighborhood for four years.


Beverly McDermott-Piazza (D)

Background: I have a degree in business from the University of Maryland. I will have town hall meetings to help enable residents to find solutions and be made aware of city resources. I will also educate senior citizens on how to obtain healthy meal delivery services.

Occupation: I worked as a civilian for the Air Force as a public relations specialist. I worked at Call 6 for Help at WRTV, channel 6, to help resolve scams and cut through red tape.

Personal: I grew up and attended school in Beech Grove. I have an adult daughter, Stephanie, who recently completed her residency toward a PhD in business administration at Indiana Wesleyan University.


Paul Annee (R)

Background: I serve as a board member on the Greater Southside Business Alliance, Citizens Alliance for Public Safety and am a member of the Kiwanis Club of Perry Township. I’ve been endorsed by the Indianapolis Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #86, the Indianapolis Professional Firefighters Local 416 and former Marion County Sheriff Joseph G. McAtee. If elected, I have one clear objective: Putting the Southside first.

Occupation: I serve as the Public Information Officer of the Marion County Agriculture Fair Association and a civilian with the Marion County Sherriff’s Office.

Personal: I am a lifelong resident of the city’s Southside.


Ben Brown (D)

Background: I attended both St. Jude Catholic School and Roncalli High School. I am a member of the Catholic Business Network and Greater Lawrence Chamber of Commerce. I am a Marion County Fair Board member. I will be a proactive councilor and make sure residents have access to me and their concerns addressed through town halls. I will be a voice for the Southside.

Occupation: I’m an account manager (outside sales) for Office360.

Personal: I’m a lifelong Southsider. I’ve lived in Perry Manor for 15 years. I’ve been married for 32 years to Mary Jo (Boyce) Brown and have a daughter, Madeline, a senior at Purdue University.


Michael Dilk (R)

Background: I graduated from Perry Meridian High School and the University of Indianapolis. I served on the Perry Township Fire Merit Board. I am deeply committed to the Southside and my focus will be on public safety, economic development and infrastructure in our community.

Occupation: I have spent my career in finance, real estate and property management, giving me an extensive understanding of budgets and best business practices.

Personal: I am a lifelong resident of Perry Township and raised my family here. For recreation, I’ve enjoyed “manning the chairs” at UIndy and Perry Meridian football games for over 20 years. I have a black belt in Taekwondo.


Justin Braun (D)

Background: I attended St. Simon the Apostle and Scecina Memorial High School. I graduated from Ball State University in 2005 with a bachelors’ degree in Information Systems Management. After contributions to the Indiana workforce, I returned to school, graduating from IUPUI with a master’s degree in educational technology.

Occupation: I serve as the technology director for Paramount Schools of Excellence.

Personal: I’ve lived in Franklin Township for two years with my wife, Erin, and our three children: Caleb, CJ and Leon.


Brian Mowery (R)