The three hopefuls share their visions for the city of Huntington.
By Juliet Wilson, Copy Editor
On November 5, 2019, Huntington County is holding a municipal election. During this election, citizens will elect a new mayor. If you have lived in Huntington for thirty days, you are welcome to update your registration information and vote in the local elections for the City of Huntington.
Mayor Brooks Fetters has served Huntington for two terms, but he did not win the Republican nomination earlier this year. Consequently, the citizens of Huntington will elect a new mayor on November 5th. Several candidates have been running campaigns locally; after a few trips through town, it is easy to recognize the names of the candidates on the yard signs.
In order to be informed voters, however, individuals must know more than a candidate’s name. Three mayoral candidates were willing to what they believe the most pressing issues in Huntington are, and what their plans for the city would be if they were elected mayor.
“I am running for Mayor of Huntington to bring conservative principles back to the Mayor’s office.
“Having served on City Council, County Council and as County Commissioner I have always believed in smaller, effective and efficient government.
“As Mayor I will work to lower our tax rate, expand our industrial base making Huntington more attractive and affordable.
“I will use a more conservative approach to spending CEDIT and TIF dollars, concentrating CEDIT on more traditional uses of job attraction and industrial/enterprise expansion. I believe TIF dollars should focus on infrastructure (roads and utilities).
“I believe we need to rebuild and restructure our utilities, parks and street departments increasing maintenance and upgrades “in-house” maximizing our purchasing power and leveraging our ability to perform these duties against outside contractors.
“I will put together a plan to revitalize our neighborhoods and preserve our brick streets.
“I will work hard to make Huntington more accommodating, attractive and affordable.”
“I’m running for mayor because I can help Huntington face and overcome the challenges facing it as a small city in a global economy.
“Huntington’s top challenge is the same as the rest of Indiana — declining population. We’re losing the competition for keeping young people and families. It’s a shame because we have so much to offer people at that stage of life. We can start winning that competition.
“I want Huntington to become a city where Huntington University students and Huntington North students enjoy living and choose to start careers in. I think we are right on the edge of turning an important corner in the history of the city. Huntington is a small city that still feels like a small town in a lot of ways. You can know your neighbors here. You can make a difference here. Those are good things. There are other ways in which we need to keep growing and changing.
“The second challenge facing Huntington is infrastructure. We’re catching up on projects but there is more to come. I trust the previous generations had good reasons for the decisions they made. We are the generation that will address the results of their decisions. We won’t leave them unresolved for our children and grandchildren. They’ll have enough challenges of their own in that day. Instead, we’re going to continue making responsible choices to update our city’s infrastructure on, above and below the pavement.
“As mayor, I will focus on three areas. We need a strong local economy that promotes entrepreneurs while attracting outside retail and industry to fill the gaps. We will continue investing to make Huntington a place we all can enjoy living. And finally, I will make sure we’re addressing infrastructure projects so that your generation won’t inherit our responsibilities. Focusing on those three things will help Huntington win the competition against other cities for young families and good-paying jobs. I hope to earn your vote on Nov. 5, and I hope you’ll invest in Huntington today and the many tomorrows to come.
“Johnnie Hiles has been a Huntington County resident for over 45 years. She has had a multitude of experiences and endeavors, with quality leadership, running as an Independent, to prepare her for becoming Mayor.
“With her primary focus being on the future and NOT political parties or agendas, her experience will aid in researching our city’s outsourcing and extensive debt, working hand in hand with and for the citizens of our town, not making unilateral decisions and ensuring they have a voice and that they ARE being heard. She is very involved in the community, organizing many fundraisers and benefits over the last 10 years.
“Johnnie believes that building our city into an all inclusive, safe, family oriented and welcoming community, including new businesses and taking care of our established ones, will be something everyone is proud to be a part of and that we all strive for and deserve.”
Election day is Tuesday, Nov. 5.