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Bloomington Mayor

The Mayor is the Chief Executive and head of the Executive Branch. He or she shall faithfully perform the duties and responsibilities contained in Indiana Code § 36-4-5 and other statutes of the State of Indiana: enforce the ordinances of the city and the statutes of the state; provide a statement of the finances and general condition of the city to the city legislative body at least once a year; provide any information regarding city affairs that the legislative body requests; recommend, in writing, to the legislative body actions that the executive considers proper; call special meetings of the legislative body when necessary; supervise subordinate officers; insure efficient government of the city; fill vacancies in city offices when required; sign all bonds, deeds, and contracts of the city and all licenses issued by the city; and approve or veto ordinances, orders, and resolutions of the legislative body.

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    Kerry Thomson

Biographical Information

What role, if any, should the city have in improving mental health and reducing drug dependence, and why? (750 characters)

What, if anything, should the city do to increase local affordable housing? (750 characters)

What should be done to ensure that all Bloomington residents, particularly those who have been made vulnerable or marginalized, feel safe in public spaces? (750 characters)

Bloomington’s 2021 Climate Action Plan has numerous goals for mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions and adaptation to climate change. What would you do to achieve these multiple goals? (750 characters)

How should the city handle the varying traffic needs of bikes, busses, cars, delivery vehicles, pedestrians, and scooters? (750 characters)

Is the level of apparent conflict among local government officials a concern for you? If so, what would you do to decrease conflict and increase collaborative problem solving? (750 characters)

Education Randolph-Macon Woman's College graduate
Occupation Executive Director of Indiana University's Center for Rural Engagement
The city can & should be a convening force that brings together local nonprofits, businesses, neighborhoods, community groups, governments & IU to develop a community-driven approach that gets results. Helping those with mental health & substance use issues is the right thing to do and it will make our community safer & healthier for all. Bloomington has many boards & commissions that address myriad priorities. The creation of a panel dedicated to these critical issues might be called for. In concert with the city council, I will reach out to stakeholders for opinions as to whether it makes sense to have an umbrella group dedicated to addressing these issues. If it’s decided such an effort is better housed elsewhere, I’ll be fully onboard.
We are pricing people out of our market. This crisis is hindering our ability to attract & retain jobs & talent & is harming our quality of life. As CEO of Habitat for Humanity, providing attainable housing was Job #1. I intend to use my expertise to act quickly. In our first 100 days, we’ll develop a strategy to implement the city’s 2020 housing study. Part of the fix is promoting & sustaining jobs that pay a living wage so people can afford to live in the city in which they work. I’ll leverage partnerships with public & private entities & instead of demonizing county government, I'll work with them to develop our housing strategy. I commit to working with the entire community to build consensus & make housing accessible & attainable.
First, don’t wait until something happens before reaching out to populations who might be victimized by hate. Reach out now. Make sure all people feel welcomed, valued, respected & included so that if something happens, they know we have their back. We pride ourselves on being a “Safe & Civil City.” Sadly, some now doubt that. Shockingly, after this attack, the mayor posted a statement calling the city a “safe place” only to change it to “a relatively safe place” later. That says a lot about how City Hall feels about citizen perceptions. I’ll reach out to all parts of the city to ask about their opinions of how safe Bloomington is. I’m betting that perception differs from place to place. We should acknowledge it, respect it & act on it.
Congrats to the citizens & staff who provided support, expertise & enthusiasm to prepare CAP. We should celebrate our long-standing commitment to sustainability. Bloomington mayors signed the U.S. Mayor’s 2006 Climate Protection Agreement & the Mayors National Climate Action Agenda in 2015. I’ll continue to offer leadership on the issue by ensuring the significant taxpayer dollars dedicated to the mission are being utilized to maximum efficiency & effectiveness to protect us from the impacts of climate change. Whether it be local food & agriculture, renewables, conservation, land use, carbon neutrality, climate resiliency, or the other aspects of the effort, I’ll provide the leadership & direction needed to move beyond talk & into action.
Simply put, with common sense. People are frustrated by what they see as a crazy-quilt pattern of paths, streets & crossings. As with everything in my administration, it will start with conversations with the community, seeking input, building consensus & then making it happen. Issues surrounding modes of transportation & competing interests must be handled holistically rather than piecemeal. With historic investments in our country’s infrastructure being made, now is the time to develop & implement long-term plans. Making traffic management happen requires skilled labor, materials & public works equipment. All have been in short supply in recent years. We must make the investments necessary to implement sound plans.
This is one of the primary reasons I am running. City government has developed a reputation for in-fighting & a failure to promote a collaborative spirit within the community. The “my way or the highway” approach must end. My first priority will be to repair damaged relationships with the city council, county government, business community, & most importantly, individual citizens. The way to restore confidence in city government & make real progress on the challenges that await us is to make it clear its mayor listens & then acts – not the other way around. As a political newcomer with experience leading large, complex organizations, I will seek to reset relationships with stakeholders through consistent, respectful & honest communication.