Beech Grove election guide 2019

By Nancy Price

Election Day is Nov. 5. In Beech Grove, current Mayor Dennis B. Buckley (D) is being challenged by Rick Skirvin (R). Candidates featured in this issue that are running for contested office have listed their experience, education and qualifications. Remember to vote next Tuesday!


Dennis B. Buckley (D)

Why do you want to be re-elected as mayor?

I decided to run for mayor in 2011 because I wasn’t happy with the direction our city was going. I have served as mayor for eight years and the city is in much better condition than when I began. I don’t want our city to return to the condition that it was in when I became mayor in 2012.

What are your qualifications to be re-elected as mayor?

My career as a Beech Grove firefighter prepared me to become mayor. My tenure as fire chief for the last 11 years of my career allowed me to obtain executive leadership skills that have helped me lead the city for the past eight years. I’m proactive when it comes to public safety. We have the best public safety departments in central Indiana. My leadership skills have also allowed me to reach out to business and promote our city and attract new business. My people skills are excellent, and my open-door policy is very popular with the general public.

Name three priorities you’d like to achieve if re-elected mayor.

  1. My highest priority as mayor is the safety of the general public. This also applies to the personal safety of the police officer, firefighter, civilian paramedic and the employees who pick up your trash. It is evident with our police department, fire department and department of public works, that we have the best services in central Indiana.
  2. My second priority is to continue to improve the infrastructure of our city. We have received over $13 million in funding to make infrastructure improvements, we re-paved 60 roads, replaced over 1,700 street signs, added street lights, repaired and added sidewalks, fixed driveway approaches, conducted sanitary sewer improvements and have made substantial improvements in correcting drainage problems, including Main Street.
  3. My third priority is to continue to promote new business, quality of life initiatives and to minimize debt. Over the past eight years we have introduced free recycling and appliance drop-off, paper shredding, medicine disposal and several programs at the Hornet Park Community Center. We also have invested heavily in our parks system as we have some of the cleanest parks in Marion County. Coming soon is a 2.2-mile greenway that will wind its way through our beautiful city.


Rick Skirvin (R)

Why do you want to become mayor?

As a lifelong Beech Grove resident, father of fourth-generation “Grovers” and a 1987 graduate of Beech Grove High School, I would like to see Beech Grove move to the next level. I’m a 13-year BG School Board member (former president), current business owner of two successful businesses and a 13-year Beech Grove Parks Board member. As a team we envision municipal transparency, in addition to open and honest communication with everyone. The Rick Skirvin team can take Beech Grove to the next level with your vote on Nov. 5, 2019.

What are your qualifications to be mayor?

As a business owner it’s prepared me to go after new business as I would new businesses to come to our city. Multitasking with managing staff, organizing books and supervising projects have also prepared me. Being a school board and parks board member have helped me to understand government funding and how to apply it to different services.

Name three priorities you’d like to achieve if re-elected mayor.

  1. The current administration is seeking to sell our sewer system. I plan to cease that process. Currently the city of Beech Grove uses roughly $1.5 million of sewer funds for general fund use. (Next year it’s projected to be $1.8 million.) There is no solid plan to replace those funds if the sewer sells.
  2. Reduce petty crime. Currently Beech Grove does not have a juvenile diversion program. I plan to instate such a program. Also, I will increase the level of discussion between compliance and the police department with regard to problematic addresses to determine a course of action if one is warranted. I will also create a citizens patrol trained by our police department so that we have well-trained witnesses in case they’re needed.
  3. Get new businesses and attract foot traffic to Main Street. My administration will create a Beech Grove phone app that will have everything Beech Grove-related in it including Main Street businesses and what they offer. Also, creating legible signage on Emerson Avenue directing drivers that currently pass our Main Street to the wonderful stores we currently have and will have in the future.


James W. Coffman (D)

Background: I graduated from Roncalli High School and received a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University in 2006. I have been active in the community and strive to see Beech Grove succeed in every way possible. As Clerk-Treasurer, I will work with the mayor, the council and all department heads to ensure the city successfully serves its citizens. When people work together, great things can happen!

Occupation: My family owns Eckstein Shoe Store on Main Street.

Personal: I am married to Jennifer and we have two children, Claire and Alex.


Chris Duffer (R)

Background: I graduated from Beech Grove High School and then joined the United States Air Force. I have been active in Beech Grove politics for the last 11 years. My positions have included City Councilor District 3, Clerk-Treasurer, Precinct Committeeman and Beech Grove Republican Club President. I am a member of the American Legion.

Occupation: Currently, I am employed at St. Francis Hospital in the IT department.

Personal: I have lived in Beech Grove for over 50 years. I have two children who both graduated from Beech Grove High School. I am married to Mary Lynne and am a member of Thompson Road Baptist Church.


Elizabeth Anne Lamping (D)

Background: I graduated from Tell City High School class of 1974. I completed the Licensed Practical Nursing program from Ivy Tech Community College in Bloomington, IN, in March 1976.

Occupation: My nursing career of nearly 44 years has allowed me to work in many specialties, in physician offices and in-patient hospital units. It would be an honor to have the opportunity to continue serving in the community: working for Beech Grove, providing public safety, infrastructure, economic development and quality of life.

Personal: Beech Grove has been my home, except for a few years, since 1976. I’ve lived at my current address on 13th Avenue for greater than 25 years, raising three sons here. Family, faith and call to service are the roots of my foundation for living.


Karla Middleton Richardson (R)

Background: My wishes are to help build Beech Grove into a city that young families and professionals are proud to call home.  I am part of BG Citizens Patrol. Representation isn’t about what I want, this is about what everyone wants. I will be accessible all of the time, not just election years. I will reach out to District 1 residents to see how you want me to vote and what we need to improve upon. We need fresh ideas to make Beech Grove a desired destination for living and visitors. My main goals are city unity, reduced budget, cut wasteful spending, infrastructure, lighting, proper use of sewer funds, build up Main Street, hold commercial landlords accountable for upkeep on buildings, citywide activities and curb crime.

Occupation: I am currently employed in finance, am a past business owner on Main Street and past Beech Grove school bus driver.

Personal: I am a lifetime Grover, mom and grandma. I enjoy friends and getting together for community events.


Gary Hall (R)

Background: I am a Beech Grove graduate. I look forward to representing my neighbors serving alongside (Republican candidate for mayor) Rick Skirvin. I promise strong transparent leadership, dealing with the unification of our community, property values, sewer system, public safety, crime and drug-free community, outreach programs, infrastructure, Main Street development, economic development, ORCA grants and landfill issues.

Occupation: I’ve served our country in the U.S. Air Force and Department of Defense for 30 years.

Personal: Shari and I are Christians, we’ve been married for 37 years and have two grown married children and five grandchildren.


Vito Mascari (D)

Background: I attended Beech Grove City Schools (K-8), graduated from Roncalli High School in 2003 and earned a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University – Kelley School of Business in 2008. I’m a proud lifelong Beech Grove resident who wants to see our city succeed!

Occupation: I’ve worked as a carrier relationship manager for Key Benefit Administrators since 2014.

Personal: I’m 34 and I’ve lived in Beech Grove my entire life. I’ve been married to Collette Mascari for two years and have three children: Heidi, Ryan and Rayne. I’m a godfather to twins, Lucas and Audrey (Wilson). I’m an avid sports fan and diehard IndyCar racing follower. I enjoy wrenching on cars and motorcycles, cooking and photography.


Jeffery Dees (D)

Background: I graduated from Roncalli High School, then graduated college with a degree in construction management from Purdue University. If I am elected my main goal will be to help in the revitalization of downtown Beech Grove, and to keep our public safety a top priority.

Occupation: I am a small business owner

Personal: I am 36 and a lifelong resident of Beech Grove. I currently live on the west side of Beech Grove with my family.


Robert Ferguson (R)

Background: I am a mentor, instructor and Crisis Intervention and Critical Incident Stress Management team member. I previously ran for Beech Grove City Council At-Large in 2015.

Occupation: I work as a sergeant for a local police department and run one of the busiest shifts in the city.

Personal: I have been a resident of Beech Grove since 2008. I am married to Kara and have four children: Zoe, Molly, Elly and a stepson, Reagan. I attend Traders Point Christian Church at their downtown campus.


Kevin R Day (R)

Background: I belong to Southport Masonic Lodge. I currently serve on the Beech Grove City Council in District 4. My goal, if re-elected, is to focus on helping to improve our Main Street and making Beech Grove thrive again.

Occupation: I am a local truck driver, delivering to cabinet manufacturers across Indiana.

Personal: I have lived in Beech Grove for the last seven years. I grew up here on the weekends while visiting my father since the age of 13. I have one son, Kevin Jr.


Avis Loutella Frieson (D)

Background: I’m a volunteer at Dayspring Center, a homeless shelter, a women’s prison. Kairos Prison Ministry, Second Helpings, Gleaner’s Food Bank of Indiana and others. Additionally, I’m extremely passionate about serving my community and advocating for the least.

Occupation: I’ve been employed by IUPUI since 2003, serving as Lilly Family School of Philanthropy’s recorder and office manager.

Personal: I am married to TJ Frieson Jr. I love the Lord and serving others. I’ve resided in Beech Grove since 1998, where I raised my three children, all graduates of Beech Grove High School. I’m originally from a small town called Marianna, AR. I’m passionate about spending time with my family, especially my seven grandchildren.


Richard J. Byland (R)

Background: I was awarded a proclamation Dec. 6, 2011 by the city of Beech Grove, naming Dec. 6 “Richard Byland Day” because of my dedication to Beech Grove. A few items I’ve completed includes building the restroom for the girls’ softball field, remodeling the Council Chamber at City Hall, remodeling three buildings on Main Street, collecting funds for the Holy Name turkey giveaway and giving money from his own paycheck to the Girl Scouts.

Personal: I have been married for 25 years and have one son, Zach Byland, and one grandson, Theodore.


David Harrison (D)

Background: I graduated from Manual High School and attended IUPUI. I have been on the council for the last eight years. I was part of bringing the city back to being stable financially; we did this by passing budgets that were what the city needed, not overspending, We repaired storm sewers and repaved very damaged roads. We upgraded roads and sewers. We added more ambulance services, which helps bring in over $1 million in revenue. We brought the fire department up to state standards and we added more police that our city needs. We also brought on two more new trash vehicles and paid cash for them.

Occupation: I have been an insurance agent with Farmers Insurance in Beech Grove since 1988.

Personal: I have lived in Beech Grove for 35 years.


Kara Ferguson (R)

Background: I have a bachelor’s degree in HR from Oakland City University. I am a volunteer for Kentuckiana Pug Rescue. I want to help improve the lives of residents and serve my community.

Occupation: I work for Now Courier as the director of talent management. I’ve been in HR management for 14 years.

Personal: I have been a resident of Beech Grove since 2013. I am married to Robert and have one son, Reagan (12) and three stepdaughters, Zoe (17), Molly (12) and Elly (10). I attend Traders Point Christian Church and have three rescue pigs.


Daniel A. Norris (R)

Background: Since 1983 my career has been devoted to the management of resources and cost management. I believe it is crucial to be fiscally responsible but also realize what is within budgetary limits.

Occupation: I have worked in Program Analysis and Budgetary Management since 1983 with the Air Force from 1983-1992, a private industry from 1992-1996, INDOT from 1996-2000, the city of Indianapolis from 2000-2018 and currently as the Chief Financial Officer of the Indianapolis-Marion County Forensic Services Agency.

Personal: I have lived in Beech Grove for 27 years with my wife, Susan Norris, and my children, Daniel and Brittany Norris.


Ashley R. Piland (D)

Background: I am a graduate of Franklin Central High School and have a bachelor’s degree from Indiana State University. I have been the Alcohol Beverage Commissioner (ABC) representative in Beech Grove since 2016. I have experience and a background in advocating for neighbors. I am excited to support our team and mayor to continue to focus on great things like public safety, economic development, quality of life and continuing to improve our infrastructure.

Occupation: I am the Family and Financial Resource Manager at Mary Rigg Neighborhood Center and have worked in nonprofits for most of my life.

Personal: I bought my grandparents’ home, where I reside with my son and two dogs.


Buddy Templin (D)

Background: I am a graduate of Beech Grove High School. I am currently on the Beech Grove City Council and have also served on the council from 2008-2011. I, along with other citizens, addressed the Indiana General Assembly, opposing a law that would affect the city of Beech Grove’s 911 communication.

Occupation: I’ve worked for Beech Grove for more than 30 years. I’ve been a Beech Grove business owner with TFISSecurity for more than 20 years.

Personal: I am a lifelong resident of Beech Grove. I’m married to Lori and we have four children: Scott, Logan, Robbie and Emily, all BGHS graduates, and one granddaughter, Callie.



Andrew Wells (R)

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