Current council members Jeremy Ashcraft and Charlie Hastings face challengers Chris Martin and Matt Meagher in the race for the two at-large seats on the Logansport City Council. Ashcraft and Martin are Republicans. Meagher is a Democrat, and Hastings, who was elected twice as a Democrat, is running this time as an independent.
What do you see as the issues in this campaign?
Ashcraft: Our community has been fortunate to see new businesses and developments at the city’s east end and in the downtown, but I think we can do more to encourage growth. Planning and zoning standards are critical because they maintain order. On the other hand, I think we need to keep realistic expectations and eliminate layers. That’s why I support dissolving the Downtown Review Board.
I will continue to support quality of life initiatives, more efficient government and historic preservation whenever possible. We must continue to invest in ourselves if we expect others to invest in us. Improved educational opportunities for our workforce and modern infrastructure are critical to success. That is why I have supported projects such as the new Ivy Tech campus, Trine University, the 18th Street project and new commercial developments. We must work together to promote an environment where businesses want to locate and people want to live. Our attitude must be one of a community that is successful, has a future and knows how to work together to be prosperous. I believe job retention is just as important as job creation. If tax abatement saves five jobs or 50, it is worth every dime. These are things we must continue to do.
Hastings: The main issue in this year’s election is the creation of livable wage jobs. Logansport is below the coverage wage base in Indiana. Livable wages of $16 to $19 per hour. People in Logansport need these types of wages to make improvements in their life. We have a wonderful education system in Logansport, but if there are no jobs, the graduates will locate elsewhere.
1. Job creation. It’s a problem everywhere, not just Logansport. We can create jobs and get some people back to work and it starts with less government and zoning regulations.
2. Public safety. Sure, the numbers are there with LPD, but when you take away their benefits, the numbers won’t be there much longer. Cuts are happening elsewhere, but cuts to public safety could and should have come after plans for a beautification project.
3. The youth. Our youth continues to struggle in our community with gang violence, boredom, and practically no support for fun. Everyone preaches that Ivy Tech and Trine have made our community grow. I can’t argue with that not one bit. What about the youth of this community under the college level? The youth of this community moves out of town not because we don’t have a good college, they move out because we have nothing fun for a middle class family to do. Time to start using our ideas and involving the youth more!
4. Common sense. Common sense tells you that protection of our city is more important than a beautification project. Common sense tells you that with a high-risk job and low-end benefits, you’re going to lose employees. Common sense tells you that when you make your city non-business friendly, you’re not going to create jobs. Common sense is an issue most won’t comment about. I’m not going to stand to the side any longer. I’m not going to keep quite, and I’m not going to back down from a challenge.
Meagher: I see the main issue as our ongoing efforts with economic development. Ongoing because economic development is a cause that never ends, we will always seek new development. We need to understand that economic development is a very broad issue that encompasses nearly every aspect of the city from the quality and choices in education to the parks and streets and level of crime. It's for these reasons that keeping a budget that maintains all services is vital. We cannot sacrifice the parks or street departments to avoid cuts to public safety.
Having a high quality of life is an asset in attracting jobs to Logansport, but the biggest asset will be having a well-educated workforce. It's no coincidence that well off communities like
Hamilton and Kosciusko counties have education rates well above average. This is why Ivy Tech and Trine were important first steps in building a foundation for Logansport’s success, but we need to view them as first steps. Logansport needs to continue to seek out other education opportunities. As new industries emerge, we need to be prepared to train workers for them. We also must continue to promote the CLEAR program that is helping people who have dropped out of high school get their GED. This program has been a big success with more then a third of its graduates going onto college. The future of Logansport is tied to its commitment to education, we can never say "good enough."
We need to continue to be innovative, since 2008 the city has cut its budget by 33 percent and has asked the departments to do more with less and they've risen to the challenge, in 2012 we'll again ask them to do more with less. The city will need to remain aggressive in seeking out grants. Grant money gives the city the best chance to make significant improvements to infrastructure.
Why should voters choose you?
Ashcraft: My blue collar roots are the foundation of everything I do. Thanks to scholarships and hard work I was granted the opportunity to earn a degree from Indiana University Kokomo. I will always be grateful and believe it is my civic duty to give back to my community. I want to see Logansport thrive and I that is why I am running for reelection as an at large candidate.
My first term as a Logansport city councilman brought its share of challenges. I have always kept the greater good in mind when making decisions that will affect the residents of Logansport for years to come. I am open minded, achieve goals through cooperation, and take a common sense approach to problem solving.
I offer over 10 years of professional experience in marketing, planning and development. I believe Logansport needs experienced, driven leaders who have spent time getting their hands dirty while working to make Logansport an even better community. The progress we have made motivates me to work even harder for our community.
Hastings: I am a two-term councilman that has gained experience in the activities of the city government. I think we need to set our sights on a different direction in Logansport. I am ready to be a part of that new direction with your support. We have a choice this election. Let’s vote for a new direction.
Martin: My decision to run for Logansport City Council at-large was not only because I’m a leader ready to lead. It was not only because we want our city to start moving forward. It was because I wanted to see the men and women who protect us every day get what they deserve. We want to see our economy grow and jobs to be created. I want to see business owners be business owners. This is about preserving the history Logansport has to this day, while allowing the youth to grow up in a city built upon the future. A bend in the road is not the end of the road ... unless you fail to make the turn. I’d appreciate your vote and ask that you take a stand Nov. 8, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you and may God bless.
Meagher: I’m running for city council because I understand that Logansport has no choice but to grow. We cannot look backwards to how things used to be. Our only choice is to move forward. I’m optimistic about Logansport's future, and if elected, I’ll be aggressive in building the foundation for job growth through infrastructure, promoting education and improving the quality of life for the citizens of Logansport. I believe with my experience and education, I can provide the council with much needed balance.