Former Indianapolis City-County Councilman Jefferson Shreve will rejoin the council after being chosen Tuesday night by fellow Republicans to replace Jeff Miller, who resigned from the council in August after pleading guilty to four battery charges stemming from a child molestation investigation.
Shreve, a businessman who previously served on the council from 2012 to 2015, was selected by Republican precinct committee members in District 16, which covers parts of downtown and the south side, including influential properties like the Indianapolis Convention Center, Lucas Oil Stadium and Eli Lilly and Co.’s massive corporate campus.
“My focus will play to what I think will be my strong suit: on the economic development side of it,” Shreve told IBJ.” “I think I can be helpful with that.”
Shreve, who is on the Metropolitan Development Commission but will step down from that role, said he wants to get engaged in the conversation about redeveloping the “jewel in the rough” that is the former General Motors stamping plant property just east of downtown.
“That’s a great big opportunity we’ve got to get right,” Shreve said. “I think it’s the most tantalizing economic development site, not just in District 16, but in the city.”
Marion County GOP Chairman Jim Merritt congratulated Shreve on his selection.
“Jefferson has previously been a member of the Council and will be able to jump in without missing a beat,” Merritt said in an email. “His previous experience on the council as well as being a business owner right here in Indianapolis will serve the residents of his district and our county well."
Shreve ended up being the lone candidate who filed for the position, Merritt told IBJ, though he said “many tested the water.”
Merritt said he did not meet or talk with other potential candidates, but that “I do believe most of the people who were going to run saw [Shreve] as an individual of stature.”
The caucus was held in the basement of Midtown restaurant Shoefly. A total of 15 precinct committeemen were invited, but Merritt said he did not have a count of how many attended and voted for Shreve.
The selection comes a year ahead of the city’s municipal elections, where all 25 seats on the council will be up for grabs. The council currently has a 14-11 balance in favor of Democrats.
Shreve told IBJ he hasn’t decided whether he will run in 2019.
“I was just caucused in an hour ago,” he told IBJ. “I’ll have to figure it out pretty quickly.”
Merritt told IBJ that Shreve is thinking about it.
“He did not say yes and he did not say no,” Merritt said.
Shreve is owner and president of Storage Express, which according to his LInkedIn profile “buys, builds and manages high-quality self storage properties” in 107 locations across Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.
Shreve told IBJ he was eager to start getting to know neighborhood association leaders, as well as fellow councilors of both parties.
He also said he was anxious to see what it would be like to work on the council under a Democratic mayor. He said he doesn’t know Mayor Joe Hogsett well.
“It’s one thing to be a citizen on the sidelines and look at the administration and city,” Shreve said. “Having not yet worked with him, I haven’t formed a strong opinion about the way he governs or manages.”
His sense so far, though, is that “Hogsett is politically careful to a degree that surprised me.”