LEADING QUESTIONS: Carson talks Congress, whips, soft rock

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Leading Questions

Welcome to the latest installment of  “Leading Questions: Wisdom from the Corner Office,” in which IBJ sits down with central Indiana’s top bosses and civic leaders to talk shop about their latest challenges and the habits that lead to success.

Andre Carson, 36, is tracing a trajectory in U.S. politics similar to President Barack Obama's, albeit a less spectacular arc. Barely known in political circles just a few years ago, the former Indiana State Excise Police investigator joined the City-County Council in 2007 to fill a seat vacated by Patrice Adbullah. In 2008, he won a special election for Indiana's 7th Congressional District seat and succeeded his recently deceased grandmother, U.S. Rep. Julia Carson. After serving on the House of Representatives' high-profile Financial Services Committee in the aftermath of the recession, the freshman congressman won re-election this year.

In the video above, Carson discusses his strategy for making an impression in his first term in Congress, which boiled down to "keep your mouth shut and listen." He still managed to make an impact on his peers, being named whip for the Congressional Black Caucus, as well as regional whip for the Democratic caucus for the 112th Congress. One of two Muslim congressmen, Carson also discusses how his faith comes into play at the Capitol, as well as how he deals with fellow congressmen who make inflammatory remarks about Islam on the stump.

Carson grew up in the near-north area of Indianapolis now known as Fall Creek Place. His role models included his grandmother, who served in the House from 1997 to 2007. In the video below, Carson makes a musical comparison between himself and his grandmother, invoking both Justin Bieber and Frank Sinatra. Married to a prominent local educator, Mariama Carson, and the father of a 4-year-old daughter, Carson describes how he fits family life into his intense work schedule. To relax, he cranks up soft rock, classical music and jazz on his iPod.



  • Lese what?
    Berwick - what are you even talking about?
  • gut decisions scare me
    I am a supporter of Rep Carson and understand he and his family have done great things for Indianapolis. However it scares me when politicians or anyone base decisions on "gut" feelings or beliefs. Let data and substantiated information drive decisions not gut feelings.
  • Huh?
    Hey SG, it was a lease, not a sale. How do you expect anyone to take you, much less, Rep Carson, seriously when you don't even understand basic concepts?

  • Sustainable Earmarks; Not Compounding Outgrowth Over Spending!

    Via Smart Growth Earmarks, when our State leads, reducing our overall City, State, and Federal spending, it is actually called Economic Development, which creates multiplier effects of savings and other domino effects of return on investment, while creating places people want to Be Live In.
    It is this leadership that we need from all of our State, City & Federal leaders!

    Unfortunately for us, certainly our country, our State continues down the path of business as usual, the 1950 model of economic development, Outgrowth, creating bigger government, more incentives taken from the core communities, i.e. spending more with less and less ROI. Again in this State we have so main existing ways we subsidies the over spending outgrowth model, named all kinds of things, but the bottom line the effect is the failed economic model that we are living. We have watered down our values in, out, and in between.

    To Create Sustainability we need to reduce the compounding mass area growth by creating the partnership needed to create mixed use density. Otherwise we are just continuing to create less than the average population growth, with more area and more spending, with more and more needs.

    Carson is staged to make meaningful, imperative economic development decisions that could re create the foundation of our Midtown districts, reconnecting our communities, by cleaning up our corridors to our Capital City. These essential earmarks, need to be implemented, resetting the foundation for public partnerships which are proven to spend 1 quarter the costs of our imperative public budget, leveraging how we need our private dollars to be spent vs. as we pay 4 plus times more for all the new, new, new, outgrowth, leaving our community behind to become Brownfieldâ?? and/or Greyfieldâ??s.

    We need Carsonâ??s leadership Now! Right Now we need to see our Cityâ??s economic directors and our Mayor Ballard work to cross the party lines, being the leader he could be, bring us all together; and leverage the essential State, and Federal participation. We have got to face up to it; Our City is so Broke Our City officials just sold off $450 mil of our assets! We better use this money to leverage more State and Federal support for impact areaâ??s that will create more public reinvestment, & more multiplier effects of savings and ROI!

    â?¦ Not to just talk about Sustainability and ReBuild Indy, or worse just to create Bulldose Indy...
    • Outstanding Article
      I commend IBJ on this article and the included videos. Many of us live outside the 7th District and we seldom get the opportunity for in-depth coverage of its representative. Continue the good work.
    • Earmarks?

      When did someone change it from pork?

      Is this like a used car salesman using "previously owned" - trying to misuse a label so people won't oppose it?

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