INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – IN Focus, a product of CBS4 and FOX59, teamed up with the West Side Chamber of Commerce to present a live, televised debate featuring the candidates for Indianapolis mayor.
Mayor Joe Hogsett (D-Indianapolis), State Sen. Jim Merritt (R-Indianapolis), and Libertarian candidate Douglas McNaughton took the stage Monday in Wayne Township.
The key issue voters say they want addressed is crime and violence. The mayor defended his last four years as progress made.
“150 net new police officers, return to community-based, beat-oriented policing and at the same time, adding millions thanks to our city county counsel’s anti-crime prevention, crime reduction, crime intervention grants,” said Hogsett.
However, Republican challenger Merritt says he’s not impressed by the numbers or IMPD Chief Bryan Roach.
“Half the cameras on the streets are broken that help them prevent crime. We had a mass shooting downtown, and we didn’t use the swarm effect. They don`t feel supported. The morale is down,” Merritt claimed.
McNaughton says the violence isn’t on officers.
“Police officers don’t prevent crime. Police officers catch criminals.
“Clearly, our issue with violent crime is beyond staffing of the police and beyond the laws that we already have,” said McNaughton.
Another important issue was infrastructure and transportation. Each candidate came with different ideas on how to fund Indianapolis road projects, but the mayor’s challengers both agreed that IndyGo needs to pause before moving forward with the blue or purple lines
“We have been saying Redline deadline since the start of it,” said McNaughton. “The city is simply not built for a point-to-point transportation.”
“Mayor Hogsett rushed the Redline into operation, and we have congestion, and we have confusion. That has hurt folks, constituents, businesses along College Avenue,” said Merritt.
“I do think we need to learn lessons about the design and the construction from the Redline,” said Mayor Hogsett.
But the mayor says the project can be considered a success with 230-thousand residents on IndyGo’s Redline in one month.
Each candidate says there’s room to grow, each thinks they’re the one to lead the city and each wants your vote.
You can watch the debate in segments:
Part 1: Public Safety
Part 2: Roads and Transportation
Part 3: Economic Development
Part 4: Web Exclusive