Why I’m Running for Council in District 1

Bloomington is an enlightened and compassionate small city with a prominent university at its core. We are faced with issues that are very specific to us, as well as problems that are regional or global in nature. We’re having some trouble differentiating between them.

  • Affordable housing is a serious national need, but accentuated in Bloomington with half of our residents being students competing with our permanent population for that same housing.
  • The unhoused population (another huge national and international concern) flock to Bloomington from the wider region because we are a vital center of important supporting services. They have diverse, critical needs. As a progressive, empathetic city, we work to improve the conditions of the unhoused, but homelessness is not one single problem and there is no simple, singular solution for it.
  • Our aging and inadequate infrastructure was never built to support the recent construction boom within greater Bloomington. We struggle to keep up with capacity issues — most critically our ability to protect our one singular supply of drinking water to serve our new multifamily apartment complexes.
  • We struggle to agree on a sustainable and committed response to Climate Change.
  • We aspire to fairness and equity for all our diverse population, and in many respects Bloomington succeeds — at least in relation to other Midwestern communities. But as the entire nation endures a painful introspection on its legacy of racial injustice, we continually second-guess our own record of commitment to equal justice.

Unfortunately, the public and governmental conversation over these issues has broken down and all too often degenerated into ideological bashing and finger-pointing. An increasingly assertive faction of ideologues try to impose “one-size-fits-all” solutions from other locales, citing data that has highly questionable relevance to Bloomington, without to listening to or applying the expertise and lived experience of Bloomington’s own residents. We are an intelligent, concerned, and creative society, with citizens who want to be heard, to be a real part of Bloomington’s solutions. 

Why me?

I have had a varied career. (Yes — I’m a clown, but when have I ever denied it?) But I have also been:

  • A volunteer and board member of the Monroe County Humane Association.
  • Co-creator of the Youth Mural Project that enabled disenfranchised youth to publicly express their creativity.
  • A six-year “graveyard shift” volunteer for the InterFaith Emergency Winter Shelter as a member of the First Christian Church.
  • A Friends of the Library board member.
  • An active instructor and volunteer with the Bloomington Area Arts Council.
  • A Lotus Festival volunteer and performer.
  • A longtime reading volunteer at Templeton Elementary.
  • A former employee with a local governmental office that worked directly with struggling families and individuals of all races, genders, and backgrounds.

Among many other service positions of which my proudest and most fulfilling is as a “foster-to-adopt” parent.

I know what it is to live and work in Bloomington and beyond. I have learned and keep on learning — I have had a lot to say, but I also have the capacity to listen to constituents, in District 1 and citywide. I will never lose sight of the fact that I represent, first and foremost, a specific area of Bloomington with its own unique issues. I pledge never to put my own philosophical agenda ahead of that constituency’s interests.

I WILL listen to all of Bloomington’s diverse voices with the goal of working together as a community to find and implement equitable, common sense solutions.   

2 responses to “Why I’m Running for Council in District 1”

  1. I like what you said in the HT. What is your stand on Lower Cascades Road closure?


    1. Dear Linda,
      I really appreciate this question that in so many ways exemplifies why I am running. I am completely against closing the road through lower Cascades Park. Accessibility, accessibility, accessibility! Our oldest and, in many ways, most beautiful park must remain open and available to ALL of Bloomington. I understand transitioning to more sustainable modes of transportation but sacrificing the enjoyment of a public space for one type of transportation in lieu of others is an unfair and undemocratic way of doing it. A bad idea doesn’t get better with repetition.
      Thanks, Linda.
      Yours, Joe


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