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Indianapolis candidates running for mayor and city council

Compiled by Nancy Price

Indiana primary elections are just five days away. There are six candidates running for Indianapolis-Marion County Mayor: Denise Paul Hatch, Joe Hogsett, Douglas John (Mac) McNaughton, James W. Merritt Jr., Charles James Moore and Felipe Rios.

Candidates discussed their experience, qualifications, leadership, reasons for wanting to run for office and a desire to make a difference on the Southside of Indianapolis.

The Southside Times is only focusing editorially on the contested races. We will include everyone running for election during the fall.

Remember to vote Tuesday, May 7.

Indianapolis-Marion County City Council


Laura Giffel (R)

Kristin Jones (D)

This is an updated version of Kristin’s biography. The Southside Times erroneously used an outdated version: Background: As a 24-year resident of west Indianapolis, Kristin and her husband raised both of their children in District 16. She is no stranger to this district and has volunteered in the district for more than a decade. She is currently the the Director of Community Engagement for the Julian Center. She said she understands that leadership and engagement starts at the doors of our neighborhoods and that she has knocked on thousands of doors talking to voters about the issues that matter to them.

Patrick Wagner (D)

Background: Patrick Wagner is a lifelong Indianapolis resident. He is a Ben Davis alumnus, graduated from DePauw University and holds a master’s degree from IUPUI. Patrick works in software development as an information technology program manager. In partnership with the Court Appointed Special Advocates program, Patrick advocated for children in the Child Protective Services system and worked to bring healthcare to poverty-stricken Indianapolis neighborhoods and looks to leverage his background in advocacy in our local government. Patrick said his platform aims to improve our infrastructure, safeguard our neighborhoods, empower our local entrepreneurs and bring progress to Indianapolis.


Duane Ingram (D)

Carrie Zapfe (R)


Tony Mendez (R)


Jason Holliday (R)

Phil Webster (D)


Frank Mascari (D)

Tyler Richardson (R)


Jared Evans (D)

Jason A. Richey (R)


Paul E. Annee (R)


Ben Brown (D)

Thomas Vaughn (R)

Background: Tom Vaughn is Chief of the Southport Police Department and acting Public Works Supervisor. Tom has managed municipal budgets, led the charge on building the new Southport Municipal Complex and stayed within budget in both roles. After graduating from Perry Meridian High School, Tom married Jane. Over the past 30-plus years, they’ve raised three children and have two grandchildren. Tom and Jane are both actively involved alongside the Burmese community within Perry Township, and Tom has also coached youth basketball. In addition, he was named Lions Club Citizen of the Year.

Doug Wood (R)

Background: Doug Wood is a lifelong Indianapolis resident who has resided in Perry Township for the last 20 years. He is a veteran police detective assigned to investigate special victim cases. Doug is a member of the Kiwanis Club of Perry Township and a Greater Southside Business Alliance board member. He is a former executive board member with Youth Connections, Inc. and has two sons, Kaleb and Kaden.


Justin Brown (D)

Brian Mowery (R)

Indianapolis-Marion County Mayor

Denise Paul Hatch (D)

Joe Hogsett (D)

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

I have lifted the city’s 35-year moratorium on new streetlights and laid out a plan that will invest $400 million on Indy’s roads, streets and sidewalks over the next few years. This year we will direct nearly $4 million to grassroots organizations and neighborhood-based efforts that are working to tackle the root causes of violent crime. We focus on programs that holistically address substance abuse and mental illness, including the opening of the Reuben Engagement Center, where those in crises can be diverted from the criminal justice system and connected to wraparound services and treatment programs. We have seen major investment in Indianapolis, from industry leaders like Salesforce, Fed Ex and Infosys, including thousands of new jobs brought into our city.

What are your qualifications to be mayor?

I was elected to the office of Indianapolis Mayor in November 2015 and assumed office in January 2016. Previously, served as a federal prosecutor for the Southern District of Indiana for four years. I launched the office’s first Public Corruption Working Group, a Civil Rights Task Force, as well as a groundbreaking Violent Crime Initiative focused on punishing illegally-armed felons. I served for six years as Indiana’s Secretary of State and I have more than 20 years of experience in the private practice of law.

What are three priorities that you would like to achieve if elected mayor?

  1. Improving our infrastructure.
  2. Increasing public safety & criminal justice reform.
  3. Creating a city where prosperity and opportunities are attainable for all. I was proud to launch Indy Achieves, an education program that will provide millions in scholarships and grants to low-income students attending Ivy Tech and IUPUI, helping to increase the number of Marion County residents qualified for the jobs of the 21st century.

Douglas John (Mac) McNaughton (L)

James W. Merritt Jr. (R)

Why do you want to become mayor?

After record homicides in the last three years and not seeing a change of course from the current mayor, I decided I needed to step up. Infrastructure, public safety and pride in the city are my concerns and the concerns of most citizens. I have proven leadership qualities that have come from serving as an elected state senator for many years which I will bring to the mayor’s office.

What are your qualifications to be mayor?

I have private sector experience running a company with 160 employees. I serve in leadership at the Indiana Statehouse. And I have written legislation addressing major concerns in Indianapolis and in Indiana and understand what needs to be done to serve all citizens of Indianapolis. Homelessness, hunger, abandoned houses and drug addiction are poisons to a community and issues that must be addressed.

What are three priorities that you would like to achieve if elected mayor?

  1. Public safety. I want to return to the days where people can walk around without concern for safety.
  2. I will create a bona-fide infrastructure plan for our roads. This plan will allow Indianapolis to thrive for decades to come.
  3. I will emphasize job retention, new job creation and additional economic development for our capitol city. I will work with businesses and schools to enhance workforce development throughout Indianapolis. One of my top priorities will be to make Indianapolis the best city to live, work and raise a family.

Christopher James Moore (R)

Why do you want to become mayor?

We need to have a real change for this city. We are basically held hostage by a two-party system that does not care about the citizens or the future. I can and will take this city to a brighter future.

What are your qualifications to be mayor?

I can run a campaign on minimal money and that will translate to operating the city on minimal cost as well as experiences of getting projects done on time and under budget in my life from management and laying asphalt on these roads. I’m a working-class man with fresh, new ideas.

What are three priorities that you would like to achieve if elected mayor?

  1. Roads and infrastructure so we can grow properly grow as a city.
  2. Crime is a big issue. I’ve already got a great crime prevention plan that can, and will, help the youth of the city as well. All our plans are interactive, which will help each aspect of each plan.
  3. Help those recovering from opioid addiction; help the homeless.

Felipe Rios (R)

Why do you want to become mayor?

I want to become mayor because the city of Indianapolis needs change and new leadership to work for the people and not for their personal interests.

What are your qualifications to be mayor?

My leadership, education and because I care for the people.

What are three priorities that you would like to achieve if elected mayor?

  1. Education: Better budgets and reopen closed schools.
  2. Infrastructure: Fix and repair the city streets.
  3. The city’s economic growth: Create small business community-based grants and fairness in contracts and jobs.

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