Lobbyist selected in GOP caucus as new City-County Council member

Lobbyist Danielle Coulter has been chosen by a caucus of her Republican peers as the new Indianapolis City-County Council member for a south-side district after Scott Kreider unexpectedly stepped down last month.

Coulter is a senior government affairs associate at Indiana governmental affairs firm Dant Advocacy Inc. She is also a precinct committee member in Perry Township.

danielle coulter mugDanielle Coulter

Coulter tweeted Thursday evening that she was “honored to have been elected by my fellow Precinct Committeemen this evening to serve the people of District 23 as their new City-County councillor.”

“I am eager to get to work, and I look forward to continuing to work with everyone to accomplish great things in our community,” Coulter tweeted.

Coulter told IBJ that her main priorities on the council were public safety, fiscal responsibility, and improving and maintaining the city's infrastructure. She said she would like to see more funding for police officers and to improve upon community policing initiatives. 

"Crime is certainly becoming an increasing problem on the south side, with break-ins and theft, so I'd like to make sure the city is doing everything it can to try to combat that on the south side," she said. 

She also said she wanted to work with the city and private companies to try to increase economic development investment on the south side. Her area recently saw a new Portillo's restaurant open, but she said there are some vacant businesses that she would like to fill with more investment.

Marion County GOP chairman Jim Merritt congratulated Coulter in a statement on being chosen in a caucus process where she ran for the position against fellow Republican Megan Dugan.

“Danielle brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the council and will serve her constituents and our city well,” Merritt said.

Coulter has sought political office before.

IBJ reported in 2016 that Coulter sought to fill former Indianapolis City-County Council member Aaron Freeman’s seat in District 25 at the southeast corner of Marion County when Freeman was elected to the state Legislature. She was not successful in that quest, and instead caucus members chose Brian Mowery to fill Freeman’s seat. 

At the time, Coulter was coming off an unsuccessful election in which she ran to be Marion County treasurer.

She said she has been “urged to run” by fellow Republicans who “see that I have the passion to serve.” She previously served as a legislative assistant in the Indiana House, where she worked closely with House members and their constituents.

Marion County GOP spokesman Greg Lannan said Coulter moved from District 25 into District 23 in August 2017, meeting the residency requirement.

After her selection Thursday evening, she was cheered by fellow Republicans, including Jefferson Shreve, who was recently selected using the same process to replace Republican Jeff Miller. Miller resigned in August after pleading guilty to assault.

“I’m looking forward to serving with Danielle Coulter, whom I’ve known for several years,” Shreve tweeted. “She’ll be a terrific Indy Councillor!”

IBJ reported Oct. 17 that Kreider unexpectedly resigned to focus on his work and his upcoming marriage.

Kreider was elected to the council in 2015, and focused his political efforts on road funding, infrastructure, public safety and city budgetary issues.

Kreider recently returned to his former law firm, Indianapolis-based Alerding Castor LLP, where he plans to work as an attorney and take on new managerial duties.

There are 11 Republicans on the 25-member City-County council.

Coulter told IBJ she plans to run again in 2019 and she was focused on helping "try to get us a Republican majority again on the council."

She said she believed Democratic Mayor Joe Hogsett has done a good job of "trying to work across the aisle," but she said "there's always room for improvement with anyone in a position of leadership."

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