Melina’s Mayoral Speech
Thank you. Thank you everybody.
Everyone thank you so much. My campaign manager played a little trick on me on the way over
here. He called and said, “don’t freak out, there’s like three people here.” I’ll get you back. I
want to thank everyone for being here today and I want to thank Jerry for that incredible
I want to thank the entire Jones family for hosting us here today. Thank you very much. And
Jerry to answer to your question the answer is “yes”, I think it is time to make a little history.
It’s great to be here today at Canon IV. This is a great example of a family owned business with
85 employees that’s continuing to grow and it’s exactly what this economy can be here in
And it’s great to look out here and see so many great faces. I see my family. I see my friends,
business leaders, legislators, councilors. I see fellow businessmen and women and it just makes
me so proud me to call Indianapolis my home. And frankly when people say what is that makes
you so proud to call Indianapolis your home? The answer absolutely without doubt is you, so
So I want to thank you for your support. You have my most sincere thanks and my heartfelt
humility because I know while you’re hear to show your support for me and our campaign for
Mayor, I know that the real reason that you’re here is because like me you love this city and you
know we can do something better.
Now Indianapolis has never been just a place on the map. Not by a long shot. Indianapolis is a
community. It’s a gathering of the incredible people we see here today. And Indianapolis is
simply our home and home to me has never been just the place where I live. Home to me is Bob.
The guy that I met 25 years ago on the IU track team in Bloomington and who’s been my
husband for 17 years. And home to us is Sophia, our daughter, who is growing so fast and
Marcus our son, who makes us laugh.
Friends, the day that Marcus and Sophia were born, Bob and I made a commitment that all
parents make. A commitment to make our children’s live as best as they could be. A
commitment to make sure we were always thinking about their tomorrow. Well friends, today
together with you I make another commitment: a commitment to make Indianapolis a city where
all children can realize their dreams.
And friends whether it be as a waitress in my Dad’s restaurant those many years ago, or a
member of the IU track team with Bob, or starting our own small business as a family or as a
Deputy Mayor for Economic Development, I have always been someone who keeps my
Over 50 years ago, my Dad came to this country. He left a small town outside of Athens,
Greece; left behind a country torn by war and oppression, in search of something really pretty
simple; opportunity, nothing more and nothing less, opportunity and a chance to make a better
He and my Mom had started their own small business. They had a restaurant where I worked
many hours as a waitress and learned lots lessons waiting tables. Things simple but important
like work hard, be frugal, respect and listen to others. And it wasn’t always easy when the
economy took a hit my Dad’s business, like so many others today, really struggled. Yet even
in those difficult times I learned some other important lessons, that when times are tough, when
the chips are down, when you want to rebound and when you want to move forward again the
first thing you need to do is step back and face the facts. You need to see the truth; the
Well friends our city faces real challenges and that’s the truth. The truth is our city faces
challenges and a situation where we are concerned about the state of our future. The truth is all
across this city we see families who are struggling. Struggling to pay their mortgage, struggling
to find a job. Well since this Mayor took office unemployment has nearly doubled to 10 percent.
And for African-American men, in may parts of our city, it’s almost 25 percent.
In the last few years, under Mayor Ballard, this city and county has lost over 35,000 jobs; over
35,000 jobs gone. We keep being told that public safety is job one. Yet over this last year we’ve
seen murders up in our city while their down all across the country. And we’ve painfully
watched scandal after scandal take hold of the police department, leaving it in disarray. And
worst of all, as parent, we’ve seen graduation rates that leave way too many kids behind.
Now you know and I know that Indianapolis has the potential; a where all kids can realize their
dreams. A place where we can support our families. But we also know that the promise of
Indianapolis can’t be realized with a Mayor who won’t keep his promises.
Three years ago this Mayor came into office promising to make our economy stronger.
Promising to lower taxes. And promising to take control of public safety. Well now we keep
being told that things are just fine. Crimes not out of control. We got plenty of jobs. Well the
truth is residents see it very differently. Under this Mayor jobs are down, not up. Taxes are up,
they’re not down under this Mayor and public safety leadership has lost all control. The Mayor’s
promises have not been kept and the promise of our city is still unfulfilled.
Our city needs real jobs, not false platitudes. And our city needs strong neighborhoods, not weak
excuses. And now more than ever it’s time for new leadership and fresh accountability.
Our city is at a crossroads and in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, “we are now faced with
the fact the tomorrow is today.” And our city is at that crossroads and at that crossroads there
lies a choice. It’s going to be a choice about what path will our city take? A choice about who’s
going to lead our city.
My campaign isn’t going to be about well he’s the Republican or she’s the Democrat. This
campaign is going to be about something much, much bigger than that. This campaign is going
to be about a choice. A choice between two different paths. This campaign is about the future.
And along one path, the path we’re down now is the status quo. A path whose destination is
mediocrity. A path where things are okay, just as they are today. Well unfortunately along that
path, along that road, and with this Mayor behind the wheel, our city’s economy is running out of
gas and our city is stuck in neutral.
I seek a different path. I seek a new destination. I think it’s about time we shift into gear, we put
the pedal to metal and get this city moving again.
Today I ask you to share my vision. I ask you to see the city as it can be. To see the city
tomorrow. To see a city of innovation and job creation. A city with a fundamental mission. In a
Kennedy administration creating quality jobs will be job one. And see a city that creates jobs by
focusing on the backbone of our economy; small businesses. Just like the business we’re
standing in today.
Let’s see a city that promotes entrepreneurship and creativity by working with our local
universities. And see a city with a Mayor who knock on every door, track down every lead and
forge bold strategies to create new companies. And see a city with a Mayor committed to
creating those jobs to Brightwood and Fountain Square and fewer trips to India and Brazil.
And let’s see a city of inspiration; a city with a Mayor unafraid to tackle the challenges of public
schools. A city who will work with teachers and universities and students. A city where skills
and tools will be provided to everyone who wants that opportunity to have a job.
And see a city of responsibility; a city with a Mayor strong enough to end the bureaucratic finger
pointing going on in public safety. And a city with a Mayor tough enough to lay down the law
with whoever breaks it. And a city with a Mayor bold enough to focus on what matters most
which is an unapologetic attack on the illegal guns and drugs that are destroying our
And let’s see a city of diversity and accessibility with an administration that looks like the people
it governs. And a city where opportunity, the thing we want the most for our families, is
provided to everyone.
I ask you to see the city as I can see it. A city that aims higher that works to enhance our
infrastructure that strives to make our neighborhoods sustainable and clean. And a city that has a
renewed commitment to arts and culture.
A city that reaches higher and farther and dares the other cities to follow our lead.
If you take a moment and look around you will literally hear the beating heart of this city. You
going to see Republican and Democrats, business leaders and labor, people working together,
ready to retool. Ready for forge a new economy. Ready to create jobs.
You’ll find law enforcement and faith leaders ready to restore the faith in those brave men and
women who put their lives on the line everyday for us. Ready to join together and fight crime.
You find hard working teachers and passionate reformers ready to improve our schools, remove
the barriers of truancy and illiteracy and ready to provide opportunities to all our kids.
If you look around you’ll see fathers and mothers, including this mom, who are ready, ready to
work together. Ready to make sure the city of Indianapolis has every opportunity for every
Indeed, if you look hard enough, if you listen closely enough, if you’re willing to embrace
what’s possible you’re going to see a city that is ready to do something remarkable. A city that
is ready to transcend divisions of race, gender, sexual orientation that way too often divide us.
A city ready to work for a new prosperity. A city ready to embrace the potential of every child.
A city ready to accept the challenge to reach out and seize its own destiny.
So with a commitment to provide prosperity that our city can depend on, security we can rely on,
and leadership we can count on, today I announce my candidacy for Mayor of Indianapolis.
At this time, in this place I ask you to join me in the fighting of a new tomorrow. A new
tomorrow for the father on the eastside who is learning a new skill who helps to put those skills
to work in the form of a new job. A new tomorrow for the young student and her teacher who
seek to break the status quo, challenge the odds and reach a college classroom. A new tomorrow
for all of those wonder if this city can get out of neutral, move forward and start moving again.
We gathered here today in start of what’s going to be a long journey that undoubtedly along the
road there will be our share of good days and bad days, up and downs, but no matter what
happens this campaign and this candidate is never lose sight of what matters the most.
You know many years ago when I worked in my Dad’s restaurant, at the end of a long night,
even though I knew he was really tired he’s sometimes have a twinkle in his eye and I never
knew what that was about. I always wondered what he seemed so happy about. It wasn’t until
decades later, really until after he passed and I became a mother myself, that I realized what that
was. And that my parents understood that everyday they were inching just a little closer to
giving their children a better life than they had. It was his mission, as it is every parent’s, and
when he died a little over 10 years ago I think he died knowing that he achieved that mission.
And as a mother that sense of mission and dedication to our children’s future; that’s what drives
me. And at the end of the day, that’s what this campaign is all about. It’s about tomorrow, not
today. It’s about our children, not us. It’s about everyday, working hard, taking responsibility
inching closer to a city where all our children can achieve their dreams. So today I ask you,
“Will you join me in that journey?” Then let us begin.