INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – You can’t drive around Indianapolis without looking for them. Potholes are always a topic of conversation this time of year. So, they are bound to come when you drive around town with the man responsible for filling them.
“I never thought I would take potholes as personally as I do,” said Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett.
Hogsett is good-natured about the pothole pitfalls he faces every year. He hits them too.
“I’m afraid, I am the single most prolific pothole reporter on the Request Indy app,” said Hogsett.
But the mayor gets serious when he talks about what happened last year on Indy’s roads. He declared an emergency then to spend millions in the city’s rainy day funds to order a rapid repair of the crumbling streets.
“Last year was the confluence of years of differed maintenance on our roads and bad weather,” said Hogsett. "It's usually snow that's considered the downfall of mayors. Well, for Indiana, it's road maintenance and potholes.”
More than just potholes come up when you drive around the city streets with Mayor Hogsett. No topic is more important to the mayor than public safety. Indianapolis set another deadly record last year when more criminal homicides were committed than at any time in its history. The mayor says the solution rests on the city streets and the neighborhoods by improving quality of life through education, economic development and community policing.
"When neighbors take care of the neighborhoods and care deeply about their neighborhoods, then you're going to find greater peace and safety in our streets."
Hogsett points to the Monon 16 neighborhood as one example of the city’s future, a place where public money was concentrated to revitalize an area that was struggling.
"There's no one who can transfer a neighborhood better, faster and more effectively than the neighbors themselves."
Hogsett has already announced he’s running for a second term. The city streets, its neighborhoods and public safety will become more than just topics of conversation soon. They will be campaign issues.
"Many of the things that we've begun in the first four years, I would like the opportunity , if the people of Indianapolis give it to me, and I'd like to continue to work on those things."
State Senator Jim Merritt (R-Indianapolis) has already filed paperwork to run against Hogsett for mayor. He has already received the support of Republican Party leadership, which recently chose Merritt at its annual slating convention.