Mayor Greg Ballard
Announcement to Seek Re-Election
December, 11, 2010
Indiana War Memorial Announcement
As prepared for delivery
Good morning! And thank you so much for being here today.
You know, we must be doing something right, because it sure seems like there are a lot more
people here today than when I made my first campaign announcement!
In fact, I’m surprised you could all make it… considering all the ReBuild Indy work that is going
on in our city!
But, it means a lot to me to have you here again today, and I know many of you were here with
me three years ago when I was sworn in as Mayor of Indianapolis.
I wouldn’t be here without the encouragement of friends like you, my wife Winnie, and the rest
of my family.
It is that steadfast support, and the incredible work of the men and women in our administration,
and throughout Indianapolis – that have made our vision for a more livable and prosperous city
When we began this journey together, our great city faced many serious challenges. Budget
deficits. Financial mismanagement. Tax increases. Rising Crime. An administration that gave
up responsibility and accountability for public safety. Infrastructure being ignored. And a
government that largely operated behind closed doors.
I stand before you today, proud to say that we rolled up our sleeves, we are taking on those
challenges, and we will continue to take them on!
That is leadership at work, and we cannot turn back.
We started by making government more open, more efficient and more cost-effective. We
listened and then we acted. Too many leaders get it backward, but not in our administration.
And let me pledge to each of you today that we will continue to take action!
We cannot and we absolutely will not turn back!
We cannot afford it as a city - and we will not do it!
And no matter how tough the problems are … I, for one, refuse to saddle future generations with
the problems we can solve today. We took bold steps to make up for lost time, and we are
moving Indianapolis forward.
When I first sought the opportunity to serve as your Mayor, I asked, “Had enough?” And you
answered with a resounding “Yes.”
Today, it’s probably fitting to ask, “Want More?”
Do you want more years when Indianapolis attracts more new jobs than at any point in the last
decade? Do you want more honestly balanced budgets, reduced taxes and millions of dollars
being invested to improve our city’s sewers, streets, and sidewalks? Do you want more dramatic
drops in violent crimes and historically low homicide rates? Do you?
Being a more livable big city starts with creating a climate that is conducive to creating jobs and
economic opportunity for all. Our focus is simple: attract new jobs, keep our existing jobs,
protect taxpayers, improve public safety, and make Indianapolis the most livable big city in
Despite these very tough national economic times, Indianapolis is faring better than most cities
across the country. We’ve retained and created more than 35,000 jobs in the last three years.
We still have work to do, but we are moving in the right direction.
And we cannot go back!
Just last month, Newsweek listed Indianapolis as one of the top 10 cities in America best poised
for economic recovery. CNBC named Indianapolis as one of the 10 best cities to relocate to.
In fact, we have commitments for more than 8,500 new jobs and nearly 900 million dollars in
capital investment to the city this year alone. To put that in perspective, in this difficult
economy, Indianapolis attracted 3,000 more jobs than any other year in the last 10 years!
That is leadership at work.
Our downtown boom sets Indianapolis apart and creates good building trades jobs. From the new
JW Marriott, to the Convention Center expansion, and The New Wishard project, we have more
than 3 billion dollars in construction going on in downtown Indianapolis.
But it’s not just about downtown. Over the past three years, jobs are being created across the
city. Almost 600 high-tech jobs with Dow AgroSciences. 930 healthcare-related jobs at
Arcadia. And 570 manufacturing jobs with Hat World. The list goes on and on; those are big
numbers; and that is leadership at work - and we simply cannot afford to go back!
Jobs and economic opportunity are important – but only when there is opportunity for everyone
to share in the fruits of success. To that end… we’ve increased opportunities for minority,
women and veteran owned businesses.
In fact, we are the only city to have veteran owned business goals.
Overall, spending with minority-owned businesses has nearly quadrupled from 15 million dollars
in 2007 to over 57 million dollars this year. For women-owned businesses, it has jumped
tenfold, from 2 million dollars in 2007 to over 20 million dollars this year.
That is leadership at work.
These numbers are impressive on their own, but even moreso when you take into account that
most of these businesses are small companies that now can grow and provide new jobs right here
in our community.
And while we are focused on putting people to work, we’re also focused on protecting taxpayers.
As cities across the country face staggering budget deficits, and have increased taxes and
dramatically cut services, Indianapolis stands in proud contrast. We are doing more with less.
We’ve improved city services and in 2009, we offered relief to taxpayers by reducing income
taxes by nearly 7 million dollars.
We continue to consolidate township fire departments to provide more efficient and cost-
For mayors, I led the charge for property tax caps, and now the average homeowner is paying
one-third less in property taxes than they did in 2007!
That is leadership at work, and we absolutely cannot go back.
Households across the city have to live within their means, and now we are having government
do the same. Three honestly balanced budgets in each year of this administration. We put
taxpayers first. And we cannot go back to the old ways of budget deficits, fiscal
mismanagement, and having the city-county council pass a budget with 7 blank pages on it!
Because of our sound financial management, we boosted the City’s bond rating and we’re one of
only three cities our size or larger to earn a AAA rating from all three rating agencies. The result
is hundreds of millions of dollars saved.
For example, our bond rating is part of how we were able to lower the cost of the New Wishard
by more than 350 million dollars. Three hundred fifty million dollars!
And if that number wasn’t enough for you, we’ve got a bigger one: Not only are we on our way
to resolving the long-time problem with our sewer system, we were able to re-engineer the
original deal with the federal government to save taxpayers 740 million dollars!
We were the first of more than 700 cities in the nation to renegotiate our agreement with the EPA
and save money while improving the environment. Now, other cities are looking to us as
That is leadership at work!
But protecting taxpayers and creating jobs isn’t enough if the community does not feel safe. I’ve
always said that public safety is job one for the City and that’s why I brought the police
department back under the Mayor’s office.
You are now safer in Indianapolis and the numbers bear that out. This year, violent crime has
dropped 10%. And last year, the city recorded its lowest number of homicides since 1995.
We are putting more police officers and detectives into the hot spots, using real time data to be
proactive in our crime prevention – and the numbers show its working.
Now we’ve had our share of challenges in recent months, but let me be clear – the vast majority
of the brave men and women who put on that uniform everyday are dedicated to making our city
safer and serving the public honorably.
But for those who do not live up to the standard, they will be held accountable. And we will
continue reforming IMPD training, policies and procedures.
A safe and vibrant city is critical as we make Indianapolis the most livable big city in America.
And we’re doing that in so many other ways.
We’ve expanded charter schools and educational opportunities for our children. Through the
creation of the Office of Education Innovation, we’ve bolstered the availability of charter schools
– and they are successful.
Since 2008, over 90 percent of Mayor-sponsored charter high school students enrolled into a 2 or
4-year college or university.
We still have more work to do to ensure our children have the opportunity to succeed - but we
cannot go back.
The New Wishard is transforming our landscape. We are not only providing better health care
for those in need, but also creating thousands of jobs in the process.
And, USA Today recently reported that local governments elsewhere are slashing infrastructure
spending - with the national rate nearing a seven percent drop. In Indianapolis - as you can see -
we are proudly bucking that trend and our Rebuild Indy investments are setting us apart from the
rest of the nation.
Through our utility transfer to Citizens Energy, we are in the process of securing another huge
win: 425 million dollars for long overdue and badly needed street, curb, sidewalk, and other
To put that in perspective, before our administration, the city spent about 10 million dollars a
year on resurfacing. There really is no comparison between what we are doing now and what
has happened in the past. The ReBuild Indy program is completely transformational. We have
changed the game. And we cannot go back!
I am also proud that we were the first administration to make sustainability a high priority. In
fact, we created the SustainIndy program.
We are providing incentives for green construction and we are retrofitting 70 city-county
buildings to lower the taxpayer cost of operating our facilities. We’re doing far more recycling
and we’re planting urban gardens in neighborhoods that need them the most.
And we addressed another issue that had gone untouched for too long: upgrading our city pools.
For years, some city pools had been leaking, wasting, millions of gallons of water - and
taxpayers footed the bill for the problems that were ignored. Those days are over – and we
cannot go back!
We have also improved our parks, expanded walking and bike trails, and other amenities that
enhance our quality of life, and attract businesses and families to make Indianapolis home.
And while we still have work to do - we found a solution, albeit temporary, to help our libraries
that are struggling financially. They are an important part of our community and we must work
together for a solution that doesn’t require deficit spending or tax increases.
When people decide to set down roots and call a city home, they want to know that local leaders
will listen and that government will be responsive.
When I took office, I inherited a 200 case backlog of discrimination claims. Through our Office
of Equal Opportunity, we eliminated the backlog and reduced the process time from about 700
days to roughly 100 days.
We instituted ethics policies and we now post city contracts online for the world to see. We
cannot go back.
We take input at countless policy forums across the city. We initiated the Mayor’s Night Out,
where department heads join me to listen, get feedback and provide answers to neighborhood
We cannot go back to the days when citizens were ignored and the public was locked out of city-
county council meetings!
We listen, and because we do, we revamped the Mayor’s Action Center so citizens can call or go
online, make a report and get results. And let’s not forget, we significantly upgraded our truck
fleet and developed better plans to plow snow!
Truly, our City is moving in the right direction – something the entire world will see when
Indianapolis hosts Super Bowl 46 in 2012!
Working together, we’ve done all this, but there is still much to do.
Leadership at work is rolling up our sleeves and getting the job done. It’s being open, honest,
and accountable. It’s creating an environment that attracts jobs and keeps them here. It’s
developing a vision and atmosphere for bold solutions to old problems. It’s taking responsibility
for public safety and making the reforms necessary. And, it is making tough decisions,
regardless of politics.
Folks, let me say it again: we cannot turn back! We’ve come so far.
We cannot go back to the closed doors of the past! Because there is more work to be done.
We must, and we will, keep Indianapolis moving forward – forward to the future.
As you know, this venue holds a special significance for me – and for many of you. It’s a
monument to those who answered the call to public service in the past. And to those men and
women who are serving now.
I was proud to answer that call as a United States Marine, and I am proud to serve as your
Mayor. It is important to keep Indianapolis moving forward and it is an honor to serve the city
that we all love so much.
That is why, today, I’m announcing that I will seek a second term as Mayor of Indianapolis.
You know, people often stop me on the street and say, “Mayor, you’re doing all these great
things, but you need to make sure that people know about them.”
Marines believe that you just do the work that needs to be done – just fulfill your responsibility –
and the rest will follow.
But Marines are also decisive. And I have decided, that to continue the progress we’ve made for
Indianapolis, it’s time we start telling our story, more loudly and more often!
Will you help me tell that story?
In every neighborhood, in every forum, at every opportunity – let’s make sure people know
about our Indianapolis success story!
Thank you for being here. Thank you for all you have done to bring us to this point. And I’m
counting on all of you to help us to continue moving Indianapolis forward. Thank you!
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