Last November, Mayor Joe Hogsett stood in City Market asking voters to give him a chance at a third—and what he said would be his final—term as Indianapolis mayor.
Hogsett said the pandemic left him with some unfinished business he hoped to complete if given another four years. On Tuesday, Indianapolis voters gave him that chance.
We hope he doesn’t squander it.
Hogsett prevailed in his toughest re-election campaign yet, beating businessman Jefferson Shreve—who gave his campaign $13.5 million of his own fortune—with about 60% of the vote.
It was the most expensive mayoral campaign in Indianapolis history, and though Shreve lost by a pretty significant margin, it was not for naught.
The fiery campaign encouraged more Marion County voters to turn out for this election than they have for a municipal election in a decade, boosting engagement in all races.
And with a serious, well-funded foe, Hogsett was forced to defend his administration’s record in a way he hasn’t had to do before.
Of the three challengers Hogsett has faced in his mayoral bids (Chuck Brewer in 2015 and Jim Merritt in 2019), Shreve was easily his toughest. And Indianapolis is better for it.
In debates and at public events, Hogsett touted the progress he believes Indianapolis has made during his first eight years. It was good to see him embrace decisions his administration has made in ways he hasn’t before. Too often, he has seemed in the background of his administration’s actions, instead of leading.
Take the city’s controversial decision to take over financing and ownership of the $510 million Signia Hotel when the original developer couldn’t make the project work. It’s a decision Hogsett explained with passion during a debate but one he shied away from when it was made. Whether or not we think it was the best move for the city, it’s important that Hogsett be out front about what the city is doing—which means taking responsibility when things go wrong and receiving the credit when things go well.
Indianapolis has some $9 billion in downtown development planned over the next several years, but it will take leadership to bring all those projects to fruition in a way that best benefits the city. Hogsett has shown some of that leadership in this past year—as he’s been pushed by Shreve—but we need to see more of it.
Indianapolis needs more projects like Spark on the Circle; a low-barrier homeless shelter; and Eleven Park, a mixed-use project proposed by Indianapolis-based Keystone Development, which remains in negotiation with the city over incentives and other details.
Shreve’s campaign was critical of Hogsett’s recent flurry of activity. But we were glad to see it. And we hope Hogsett keeps it up.
A strong vision from a leader who can make it come to life will be important for Indianapolis as the city determines what to do with empty and struggling real estate, including Circle Centre Mall and large office buildings on the Circle.
Hogsett has four more years to propel Indianapolis forward and deliver on campaign promises. He’d better get to work.•
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