CARMEL, Ind. — The results from this week’s primary election are in, and we’re now hearing from both of Carmel’s candidates as the city looks for a new mayor for the first time in over 25 years.
Carmel voters have decided Republican Sue Finkam and Democrat Miles Nelson will face off in February. The two each currently serve on the city council.
As each candidate continues to build their vision for the city’s future during the next several months of campaigning, local voters feel pride in what Mayor Jim Brainard has accomplished.
Brainard announced last year he would not be seeking reelection after serving seven consecutive terms, amounting to nearly 30 years of service as the city’s mayor.
“He did an amazing job in turning this little teeny, tiny town into a thriving city,” Carmel voter Tamara Des Jardines said.
Many voters on both sides of the aisle agree Brainard helped shape the city. Some say all you need to do is drive around town if you want to see the impact he has had on the city.
“There’s been a lot of growth,” Carmel voter Jean Cranfill said. “A lot of positive development within the community. I think residents want to see continued growth, but also don’t want that growth to get out of hand.”
But soon a new face will fill Brainard’s spot. Both candidates agree on his legacy, but each hope to bring a few touches of their own.
“Jim’s vision has built us a great community,” Sue Finkam said. “I’ve been pleased to be a part of that for 12 years, but I think people can feel trust here that we’re not going to make drastic wide changes but we’re going to make targeted changes that just make us better.”
“Mayor Jim Brainard has been amazing,” Miles Nelson said. “He’s been a visionary, a real leader for the city. But what does Carmel 2.0 look like? I want to make sure we keep moving forward. That we’re investing in the city and investing in the neighborhoods. We’re investing in the people.”
Finkam said she wants to use her executive business experience to bring Carmel together.
“I think a lot of the changes we want to make moving forward revolve around uniting the community and the way to run an outstanding, efficient community isn’t our way or the way, it’s the united way,” Finkam said.
And while Carmel has historically voted Republican, Miles Nelson said he will not let that get in the way.
“I was the first democrat ever elected in Carmel,” he said. “I certainly have been working. I’ve had to learn how to work with people who don’t always agree with me. Maybe come from different backgrounds. And I think that’s maybe what’s made me such an effective city council person.”
Both candidates said they will be busy these next several months doing the same exact things they did leading up to the primary; going door-to-door, holding events, raising money, and reaching out to as many voters as they can ahead of that election.