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2020 General Election Candidate Guide: Part II

Jonathan Weinzapfel

In an effort to make sure our readers are informed this election season, the Recorder sent questionnaires to candidates so voters know where they stand on important issues.

This week, we have answers from candidates for governor, state Senate and attorney general. Not all candidates had contact information, and some candidates did not respond. An asterisk (*) denotes the incumbent.


Eric Holcomb* (R)

1. What platform are you running on?

I'm running on my record of building One Indiana for All. Before COVID-19, Indiana was breaking records — for job commitments, for wages, for job training and for infrastructure. And we're getting back to setting records. We continue to lead an open, transparent, data-driven response to fighting this pandemic, prioritizing the health of Hoosiers while safely reopening our economy.

2. What is an important policy related to social justice you would like to enact?

Building One Indiana for All means working together to overcome racial inequity, supporting lives and livelihoods. That's why we're creating Indiana's first chief equity, inclusion and opportunity officer to improve economic empowerment and opportunity across the state government by removing any hurdles in the government workplace and the services the state provides. I've also requested a third-party review of our law enforcement training programs, and committed to working with the general assembly to address other critical issues.

3. How can we decrease the spread of COVID-19 while helping businesses stay afloat?

Hoosiers are taking actions to keep our economy open and drive down our unemployment rate. We launched the Back on Track Plan, a phased, datadriven and safe reopening of Indiana's economy. As a state, we've supported our Hoosier small businesses by establishing the PPE Marketplace so they can return to work in a healthy manner, and created a revolving loan program for communities to assist their small businesses. We must all mask up, physically distance and wash our hands.

4. What else should voters know about you?

I'm committed to building One Indiana for All — that means we continue to cultivate the best environment for all Hoosiers to thrive. It means tackling issues of racial inequity, it means continuing to attract more great jobs, it means helping Hoosiers skill-up for more high-wage jobs. And the best is yet to come.

Dr. Woody Myers (D) — did not respond

Donald Rainwater (L) — did not respond

Attorney General

Jonathan Weinzapfel (D)

1. What platform are you running on? Hoosier families face unprecedented challenges today, from confronting the pandemic, to racial injustice to an uncertain economic future. As attorney general, I will use the office to help strengthen our economy and communities following this pandemic. I will protect our health care from those who seek to strip it away. And, I will lead the fight to create a more fair and just criminal justice system that respects the humanity in all of us. I will also be a champion for workers' wages and safety and will go after those that misuse public dollars and commit fraud against vulnerable citizens.

2. What is an important policy related to social justice you would like to enact?

I have offered numerous plans, available on my website www.WeinzapfelforAG.com, that address this question. However, protecting access to health care will be a top priority for me. On day one, I will remove Indiana from a partisan lawsuit that seeks to destroy Obamacare and take coverage away from thousands of Hoosier families. I will also tackle criminal justice reform to rebuild the community's trust and ensure that all citizens are treated fairly and with dignity.

3. How can we decrease the spread of COVID-19 while helping businesses stay afloat?

First, we must wear masks and listen to public health experts so we can get this pandemic under control and get back to business. My opponent opposed Gov. Holcomb's mask order, while, despite being from different political parties, I supported it. As attorney general, I will work to ensure schools, hospitals and nursing homes are being more transparent. I'll implement my COVID-19 Recovery Plan and will do all I can to support Hoosier-owned businesses.

4. What else should voters know about you?

In addition to being a practicing attorney and a former chancellor of Ivy Tech, I served as mayor of Evansville from 2004-2011. Under my leadership we created more than 2,000 jobs and were voted the No. 1 city in the country to live, work and play.

Todd Rokita (R) — did not respond U.S. House of Representatives, District 7

Rep. Andre Carson* (D) — did not respond

Susan Marie Smith (R)

1. What platform are you running on?

My platform is Indianapolis First. We must retake our position as a model city for the nation. This means we must be the model for safe communities, job creation, and parental choice in education that prepares our children not only for the global economy but for global diplomacy.

2. What is an important policy related to social justice you would like to enact?

As an adjunct professor in criminal justice, I teach that we not only need to understand our issues, we must be unstoppable in our work to eliminate such issues. Human trafficking in our nation is becoming just as great of a foul stench as abortions in the Black and brown communities. I would work to enact and support legislation that would give increased funding to the investigation and prosecution of perpetrators and participants at all levels and in all places where human trafficking is found.

3. How can we decrease the spread of COVID-19 while helping businesses stay afloat?

We need to get back to work to help our businesses and our state economy. And we need to incentivize safety and protection by providing financial and reputation incentives for workplace design, talent development, and innovation reducing virus risk and increasing safety. It's imperative that our businesses use Q4 2020 and all of 2021 to enhance responsibility as well as productivity.

4. What else should voters know about you?

I am focused, determined, never afraid of the fight for what should be ours. Indianapolis has been stagnant and declining for too long, and we need to see a change in our leadership to put Indianapolis first. Send Mrs. Smith to Washington!

State Senator, District 30

John C. Ruckelshaus* (R) — did not respond Fady Qaddoura (D)

1. What platform are you running on?

I am running to be a champion for our schools and teachers, to expand health care to more Hoosiers, and to build a state that represents all of its citizens. We are facing unprecedented challenges as a state, and I will work with state leaders of both parties to address them. One of my top priorities once I am elected is to immediately pass legislation to ensure our schools are fully funded whether they are operating in-person or virtually and to work to ensure that schools have adequate PPE on hand to reopen safely.

2. What is an important policy related to social justice you would like to enact?

As an immigrant to this country, I watched as the Trump administration banned immigrants from Muslim-majority countries coming into Indiana and our elected officials were silent. That was a wake-up call for me. The COVID-19 pandemic and the movement for racial justice that erupted following the murder of George Floyd has only increased this urgency. Indiana can make vulnerable communities feel safer by finally passing comprehensive hate crimes legislation and banning police chokeholds.

3. How can we decrease the spread of COVID-19 while helping businesses stay afloat?

Something the state of Indiana can do immediately is to reinstate the moratorium on evictions

Fighting against gun violence

Last March, the Forest Manor Multi-Service Center (FMMSC) unveiled its 28-page Citywide Crime Prevention and Reduction Plan. The plan, facilitated by local consulting firm Engaging Solutions LLC and funded by the City of Indianapolis Public Safety Foundation, was initially formulated to respond to four key areas: suppression; community mobilization; advocacy; and awareness, intervention and prevention.

"We have been working that plan in house," said Regina Marsh, CEO of FMMSC.

One of the most recent developments has been a collaboration with nonpartisan activist group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. On Aug. 26, representatives from the organization and members of the community met at Forest Manor's offices to discuss issues surrounding gun violence. "Fifty percent of these women have been affected by violence; they have lost a child to murder. The other half are women who are involved in fighting against gun violence by preventing guns from getting into the wrong hands," said Marsh adding that this core group of concerned mothers has turned into something called the Moms Engagement Project. The group's next scheduled meeting is Sept. 23 at 6:30 p.m. at FMMSC, 5603 E. 38th St.

Additionally, Marsh shared that the center has began going into Beechwood Gardens and Hawthorne Place apartment complexes, both located in the 46218 zip code on the city's Eastside, to provide case management services in addition to youth programming.

"A majority of the people who come (to FMMSC) live in public housing so instead of just waiting for people to come into Forest Manor, we have been going into the housing projects and working directly with

people that live there," said Marsh. "If a family is having problems paying rent and utilities, could they potentially have issues with their children? What's going on with their health? So we're doing a lot of key things in the neighborhoods that are experiencing higher crime."

During a previous event debuting the prevention and reduction plan to the public, Ameena Matthews, activist and star of the PBS documentary "The Interrupters," shared that community involvement in addition to reliable resources are needed to address the issue of crime.

"I definitely think (FMMSC) is moving in the right direction," said Tammy Butler Robinson of Engaging Solutions. She said the center's existing programs and current expansion efforts, including a partnership with Tindley schools to offer before and after-school care, are evidence of the implementation of some of the four key areas discussed in the plan.

When asked what specific ideas of Matthews' were explored since her visit earlier this year, Marsh pointed to the aforementioned Moms project, case management services for lowincome residents as well as a re-entry service offered to ex-offenders.

Marsh explained the prosecutor's office has been providing Forest Manor with a list of people who are coming out of incarceration. "We immediately send each of these people a letter saying 'Hi, we're Forest Manor, how can we help you become self sufficient'," said Marsh adding that they are currently hearing back from about 25 percent of those individuals.

"We've got to work with our own people in our communities; we can't be scared of our own folks. I don't want to hear anything about Blackon-Black crime; I want to hear about people reaching back to the community and really helping those in need," said Marsh. "We've got to decide to be the role models in our community and help these people in need. Until we do that, we're going to continue to have the same problems."

New city-county budget: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

The Indianapolis City-County Council unanimously passed the 2021 budget Oct. 13, ending a months-long process of department presentations and public input on what the city's priorities should be going forward.

Councilors also voted to reshape the way Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department operates.

Here is what you need to know.

The 2021 city-county budget is $1.29 billion

For comparison, that's about $78 million more than the 2020 budget, but the city also projects it will bring in about $114,000 more than it spends. This is the fourth straight year Mayor Joe Hogsett has boasted a "balanced budget."

Because of the Indianapolis-Marion County consolidation, the budget includes both city and county departments.

IMPD gets a raise

The council approved about $261 million for IMPD, which is a $7.3 million increase from the 2020 budget.

No other part of the budget gar-

nered as much scrutiny amid calls to cut back — or even eliminate altogether — police spending to free up more money for social programs. When IMPD officials presented the budget to the council's Public Safety and Criminal Justice Committee in September, the public comment period lasted two hours.

Many people showed up to the council's meeting to voice their opposition to IMPD getting more money.

IMPD's chunk of money makes up almost 30% of the city budget.

Civilians added to top IMPD board

Unrelated to the budget was a proposal to add civilians to police oversight, which passed 19-6.

A new seven-member committee, called the General Orders Committee, will include four civilians and three representatives from law enforcement. The committee will replace the current General Orders Board, which has final say when it comes to department policy and doesn't have civilians.

The mayor and City-County Council president will each appoint two civilians to the new committee.

Councilors approved amendments that prevent people with a felony record from serving on the committee, and the chief must give an opinion on any proposed amendment to the department's general orders or suggest alternative action.

Civilian members and their immediately family also can't have an active lawsuit or complaint against IMPD.

Infrastructure gets a boost

The 2021 budget includes $158 million for bridge, road and sidewalk infrastructure projects as part of a four-year, $500 million plan.

The Department of Public Works as a whole is one of the city's largest city departments at almost $889 million, which is about 20% of the money going to city agencies.

Full effects from COVID-19 aren't here yet

If you're wondering how the mayor's office can project an increase in revenue during a pandemic that has brought an economic downturn with it, it's because of timing.

Decreases in income and property taxes won't reach city coffers until 2022.

Contact staff writer Tyler Fenwick at 317-762-7853. Follow him on Twitter @Ty_Fenwick.

Recorder photographer celebrates milestone birthday

When Curtis Guynn celebrated his 80th birthday Oct. 10 with a surprise party, his family and friends made sure to highlight the myriad accomplishments he has made throughout his life.

As the group ate at MCL Restaurant and Bakery, Guynn's oldest grandchild, Elysha, read proclamations from Rep. Andre Carson, Knights of Peter Claver and the Indianapolis Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., honoring Guynn's accomplishments.

For 36 years, Guynn worked as a multifamily production program assistant for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Guynn also moonlighted as a freelance photographer for the Recorder for 38 years. He's been a fan of photography from the time he was in high school, a hobby he picked up from his two older brothers.

"I don't feel as if I'm just taking pictures," he told the Recorder in 2005. "I feel like I'm carrying on a tradition. ... The images I capture will be a part of history forever."

Throughout the birthday celebration, which included a custom-made Nikon

camera cake from a family friend, Guynn and his four children glanced through photo albums depicting Guynn's life and career, which included a deployment in Korea.

Guynn's active role in the community inspired his children to follow in his footsteps.

"When we grew up, community involvement is all we knew," Anita Bardo, Guynn's oldest child, said. "Dad was always working, always taking pictures. Sometimes we'd go on shoots with him. It's a gift that we don't ever take for granted."

Bardo said she remains involved in the local community, working as the youth director for St. Rita's Catholic Church, where Guynn is also an active member.

"He's just an awesome dad," Bardo said. "He's one of those fathers that doesn't like a lot of hoopla. We thought he was going to be upset about the surprise party. He just likes everything calm and peaceful and likes being with his family."

IMPD to update K-9 policy

Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department is in the process of updating guidelines for its K-9 unit.

If the policy change is approved, police dogs would only be justified for use when a suspect is wanted for a misdemeanor and is "reasonably believed" to be armed with a deadly weapon, according to an announcement sent out by the department Oct. 7. Police dogs would continue to be justified in all felony cases.

IMPD Deputy Chief Josh Barker, who oversees the K-9 unit, said one of the main goals of the policy change is to reduce the number of times police dogs bite people.

IndyStar — along with the Invisible Institute, The Marshall Project and AL.com — recently began a series of investigative stories into K-9 units around the country. In Indianapolis, according to an Oct. 7 IndyStar article, police dogs bite 28.3 people per 100,000 residents. That's easily the most among police departments that were reviewed.

Barker said it was "terribly unfortunate" timing for IndyStar

because he started meeting with the lieutenant of the K-9 unit in November 2018 and spent most of 2019 crafting policies based on national best practices.

"Rather than letting a story incite some sort of emotional response from the community ... we thought it was reasonable to let the public know, 'Hey, I get what you're gonna read here, but there's another side to this,'" he said.

IndyStar's investigation also found 65% of those bitten between 2017 and 2019 were unarmed and didn't act violently and that more than half of those who were bitten were Black.

Barker defended the department's current K-9 guidelines as "legal and ethical" and said these changes signal a willingness to listen to the community when it comes to police reform.

IMPD Chief Randal Taylor basically said the same thing in a statement.

"Amidst national and local conversations around policing, IMPD is listening to calls from our community and looking inward – making changes that are responsive to our neighbors' requests and improve public safety," he said.

Contact staff writer Tyler Fenwick at 317-762-7853. Follow him on Twitter @Ty_Fenwick.