Who am I?
I came to Monroe County to attend college at Indiana University 22 years ago. Along the way, I picked up a BS in Mathematics and a Masters in Library and Information Science from IU. I met my wife (Amy Cornell), got a job, bought a home, and started a family (I have a 10-year old son named Grayson). I work as a program manager for an employee-owned company in downtown Bloomington, where I consult for the National Park Service. I have been active in progressive causes for most of my life, and have been active in the Democratic Party for the past 8 years.
Why am I running?
Im running for County Council because I believe that we as a
society have to start living today as though tomorrow matters.
As a true progressive, I believe that we really can make things
better, that we really do have the power to improve the wellbeing,
not just of ourselves, but of those who come after us.
Concern for what our society " and our community -- will look
like in 10, 20, 100 years is what motivates me to seek to serve
on the Council.
My campaigns theme is that the priorities in the budget of
County government must represent the progressive priorities and
values of Monroe Countys citizens. The County Council is the
Countys fiscal body. It does not, unlike the Bloomington City
Council, have legislative powers. Its primary responsibility is
to manage the budget of the county. But managing the budget is
all about setting priorities, about determining what services and
programs will be funded and which ones wont. There is
essentially no slack whatsoever in the budget, which means that
any new initiatives must be balanced either against program and
service cuts or gains in efficiency. I am committed to ensuring
that these decisions about priorities will be made in a way that
is best not only in the short run, but in the long run as well.
The three issues that most concerned me when deciding to run are
overdevelopment, the state of the local economy, and the
deleterious effects of property tax restructuring efforts of the
Overdevelopment and suburbanization are rampant in Monroe County,
leading to long-term increases in energy and fuel consumption and
an increasingly automobile-dependent community, just at the time
in which oil supplies are dwindling and prices are spiking. This
leads to a lower quality of life for current residents and a less
The recent announcement of the impending closure of the GE
refrigerator plant has also given us a sharp and painful reminder
both of the fragility to our local economy and of the dangers of
overdependence upon a single employer or industry. I want to
support efforts and policies aimed at building a more diverse and
robust economy of small and locally-owned businesses that bring
money into the local economy from the outside and circulate it
here as much as possible.
The third issue that concerned me enough to run for office was
the property tax restructuring effort led by the governor, which
culminated in the recent passage of HB1001 and SJR1. My primary
concerns about these efforts is that they are aimed at (a)
defunding local government (especially school systems) and
centralizing control in Indianapolis, (b) shifting the tax burden
from relatively wealthy homeowners to poor people, renters, and
businesses, and (c) making it nearly impossible for local
governmental units to build new schools, community corrections
facilities, etc. by instituting a referendum system that is
biased against new capital projects. All of these changes will
place greater burdens on local governments, and the County
Council will have to be flexible and creative in order to be able
to mitigate these impacts in the future.
I described the broader themes of my campaign in the question above. I am describing in this answer several initiatives that I consider to be concrete and achievable in a four-year term.
1. A more energy-efficient County government. This can be achieved through concrete goals for each department, enforced through the budget process, and with a clear, simple public scorecard. Departments can be given maximum flexibility in how they meet goals. 2. Creation of a county stormwater utility, in order to expose and fund in a fair manner the true costs of development, and to protect the quality of our waterways in Monroe County . 3. Promotion of a diverse economy of locally-owned, small businesses and businesses that pay a living wage and benefits.
My DFA Values
This legacy campaign is missing this information
My Campaign is People Powered!
All of our
campaign activities will be driven by and carried out by
grassroots activists. Our campaign strategy is very much on the
ground; we have a plan to knock on the doors of almost every
likely Democratic primary voter in the County. Our flyers and
mailings are all home-grown by the campaign team. We are
participating actively in grassroots forums, meetings, and
activities, including those sponsored by Democracy for Monroe
County, the Democratic Womens Club, and the Democratic Womens
We also have an additional challenge in college towns like Indiana University, in that there are many students who are engaged in the presidential race but do not pay attention to the local "down-ticket" races. I have developed a presentation, which I have been giving to student groups, on "4 Reasons Why Students Should Care about Local Government", in which I discuss the implications of local government policy on students with respect to the environment, criminal justice, social services, and taxation.