Why I’m running for Indianapolis City-County Council

It’s about wages and places.

There are two questions we should ask ourselves about most every question that comes before the City Council:

  1. Will this raise wages and income for people?
  2. Will this make the area a place people want to live in, visit, and work?

If the answer to either of those questions is “no”, it’s probably not a good idea.

As a City-County Councilor I want to encourage everyone to think long-term, to improve their neighborhood, and to fear nothing in pursuit of bigger goals that increase their quality of life without the use of force and heavy taxation.

Three Trends in District 12

Over the last ten years my neighbors in District 12 have worried about safety, potholes, sewers, and zoning. These are real problems, but they are incremental. If the neighborhoods in District 12 want to emerge as the go-to place to live in Marion County, we can’t be bogged down with incremental problems. Likewise, if you want to increase your wages and quality of life, you can’t let yourself get stuck in incremental problems like a broken clothes dryer. You have to be able to see beyond that problem, as real as it is.

The drug house on the corner, the proposed gas station next to your driveway, and the classroom with outdated books are real problems. Those problems tend to resolve themselves when we refocus on bigger goals about our wages and places, however. There are three big trends happening here that impact our ability to earn and live comfortably:

  1. People don’t move for jobs anymore. Jobs move for people. Chasing jobs and corporations with tax credits isn’t working for Indianapolis because every other city is doing it, too.
  2. People choose where to live based on social offerings, openness, and aesthetic. People expect basic services like water and trash pick-up in any city. We can be better at helping our neighbors improve and maintain their homes and helping our friends in distress.
  3. People living in District 12 want to be respected and largely left alone, but not ignored. Local government can’t do everything, but we can be better at supporting your ability to create and retain wealth.

These three trends are big problems – but there are big ideas for District 12 we should consider.

Five Big Goals for District 12

  1. To attract talented people of all ages we should establish a one-year no-city-income-tax status for entrepreneurs who strike out on their own. Limited to 1 year, and tied to one person, this idea supports the kinds of small businesses that make a community diversified.
  2. Start a 1% community fund within the district. Encourage businesses and residents to voluntarily contribute up to 1% of the annual profits into their community and be guided by District residents. This requires no funding from the City, no use of force, and no government strings.
  3. Don’t forget the arts. If you look at how successful neighborhoods start in Indianapolis and other cities, it’s frequently through talented artists livening up a neighborhood’s streets with art, music, and entertainment. Whether it’s bluegrass music or rock covers, arts attract attention.
  4. Encourage small businesses – of which District 12 is full of – to reach out to teens and young adults for internships, job training, and apprenticeships. Show them small business is just as limitless in possibility and career growth as large employers.
  5. Create a new way for neighborhood associations and HOAs to build and maintain official “pocket parks” for their residents and neighbors. Officially-declared parks increase home values.

My promise to you

I’m running for election to improve wages and make our district a better place to live, work, and visit.

If voters choose to elect me as their representative, they won’t have to worry about legacy-building. I’m not interested in that. I’m running for City-County Council with a self-imposed limit of two terms.

Indianapolis should be the envy of every city. We’re already an affordable and great place to start a career. But too often that’s perceived as “cheap” and low-quality. There’s no reason we can’t be affordable, high-quality, innovative, and filled with people and places everyone can respect, admire, and care about.

It’s time for District 12 to step up and be more aggressive in attracting and retaining talented people. Let’s make sure our neighborhoods are more likely to be people’s first choice to live in Central Indiana. That’s why I’m running for City-County Council in District 12. It’s about talented people in Irvington, Beech Grove, Christian Park, Raymond-Kitley, Glenroy Village, and every place in our area doing remarkable things.

I will never be casual about the truth. I will support big goals for this campaign and for our community as a Councilor.

Want to help the campaign?

Our community is driven by you, and so is this campaign. We have some big goals you can help us meet:

  • 300 people to download this sign and place it in the back window of their car.
  • 200 people to share about this campaign on social media.
  • 100 people to donate to the campaign.

50 people to volunteer with the campaign.

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Justin Harter for District 12