April 18, 2007
Editor’s Note: Candidates are listed in alphabetical order. Except where noted, questionnaires are only being published for contested races.
Thomas R. Galligan
• POLITICAL AFFILIATION: Democrat
• AGE: 60
• EDUCATION HIGHLIGHTS: Graduate of Providence High School; attended Bellarmine College for two years; attended economic development training conferences.
• CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: Mayor of Jeffersonville from 1996-2003. Chairman of KIPDA. Chairman of transportation policy commission and a member for 6 years. During 2002-2003 was chief elected official for work force development for this region.
• FAMILY NOTES: Four children (three of whom I work with in their business on a daily basis); six grandchildren; five brothers and sisters.
1) Why are you running for mayor? “I have lived in Jeffersonville for 60 years. I very much enjoyed my previous tenure as mayor of Jeffersonville. I feel fortunate to have been given the opportunity to make Jeffersonville a better community. I am confident that with the help of other government officials and local citizens I can contribute to my home city and make it a better place to live, both for my family and yours.”
2) What makes you a better candidate for mayor than your opponents in the primary? “Jeffersonville needs dynamic leadership if we are going to compete with neighboring cities. I would hope that it is apparent that progress was made during the previous Galligan administration, for example 1) the riverfront development, 2) the RiverStage, 3) the Quadrangle, 4) 10th Street improvements, 5) Court Avenue Extension, 6) Veterans Parkway, 7) Spring Street revitalization, 8) the aquatic center, 8) little league park, all indicate that I’m capable of moving Jeffersonville forward.”
3) If your constituency were awarded $10 million with no strings attached, what would you recommend spending it on first? “Widen 10th Street from Penn Street to I-265; widen and improve Holman’s Lane; finish veterans parkway from Woehrle Road to Holman’s Lane; create “rainy day” fund for fiscal emergencies.”
4) What type of relationship will you have with the city council? How will you ensure professionalism and productivity? “I will be appropriately cooperative. I understand how important it is to get along with the Council. After conversations with both former and current council members, I am confident that I can work with them to move the city forward, both professionally and productively for the betterment of the community”
5) What will your specific role be with city neighborhood groups? “I have always been concerned with Jeffersonville neighborhoods and their specific needs and problems. As in the past I will be accessible and willing to meet and work with individuals and neighborhood groups to address and solve their problems.”
6) At this point, what can the city do to encourage the development of the Jeffersonville Town Center?“Elect Tom Galligan for mayor!”
7) As an elected official, what have been the two best and two worst decisions you’ve made? “Best: 1) When we settled the lawsuit to get the harbours property back and we were able to develop two hotels, three restaurants, a 4-story office building and office condos. 2) We were able to save the Quadrangle and initiate moving city offices. This action preserved history and also preserved the integrity of the 10th street corridor.
“Worst: 1) In an attempt to bring civility between myself and certain City Council members, I elected not to attend three city council meetings. This decision was not a productive one and in retrospect was a mistake. 2) Not explaining the vision that I had well enough for people to understand where I wanted to go and what I was trying to achieve. Part of leadership is working with people as a team. I now understand the importance of communication, give and take, and cooperation with city government.
8) What’s the best idea for Jeffersonville that nobody’s talked about publicly? "A strategic transportation plan is needed to prepare for the new bridges. Infrastructure needs to be in place for increased traffic and efficient community transportation."
9) Have you ever been convicted of a non-traffic court crime in the united states? If so, please explain all relevant instances.“No.”
10) Please state your platform and ideas for dealing with the following issues.
• Annexation of new properties to the city “Set up neighborhood meetings to assess individual needs of neighborhoods along with the benefits and problems of annexation. This is often a complex and controversial matter and it is imperative that those most affected should have a voice in the project.”
• Privatization of city services “City government and city officials are hired by citizens to provide services and they should do so.”
• City Infrastructure (road conditions, abandoned property, etc) “Long range planning is the key to improving and maintaining the city infrastructure. The importance of property being properly maintained is a key to the quality of life.”
• The greenway project “The greenway is an important project because it will allow citizens to access and enjoy the riverfront and the Jeffersonville steamboat heritage. We can already enjoy the RiverStage, and soon the riverwalk, because of the progress that was begun on the greenway project during my previous administration.”
• Downtown’s role in city growth “The revitalization of downtown has always been a priority for me. To preserve the city’s identity, to provide a future for young people, and to promote development in outlying areas, the heart of Jeffersonville must remain strong.”
Robert L. Waiz, Jr.
• POLITICAL AFFILIATION: Democrat
• AGE: 44
• EDUCATION HIGHLIGHTS: Providence High School graduate (1981); Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Indiana University Southeast (1986).
• CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: Jeffersonville Mayor (2004-present); Jeffersonville City Council (1999-2003); President Jeffersonville City Council (1999); former member of Jeffersonville Planning Commission; Managing broker of Waiz Real Estate and Taggart Insurance Center.
• FAMILY NOTES: Married to Susan for 17 years; two children, Lena, age 14, and Robert, age 12.
1) Why are you running for mayor?
“Jeffersonville’s future has never looked brighter and more promising. In the last three years, we have moved Jeffersonville forward.
“We are getting results. And we are doing it with cooperation. Our city has enjoyed unprecedented growth during the past three years. We have restored professionalism and cooperation to city hall.
“We have focused on working with others to improve our community. We are listenting and responding to the citizens.
“But much remains to be done. I am seeking reelection because we have the unique and excellent opportunity to build upon our successes.
“This election is about the future of Jeffersonville. It’s about making a difference.
“Let’s continue what we have started. Our city government is more efficient and responsive, our economy is stronger, and Jeffersonville continues to be a great place to do business and raise a family.”
2) What makes you a better candidate for mayor than your opponents in the primary?
“My three years in office demonstrates that we can move Jeffersonville forward without confrontation and controversy. I am running on my record:
• We have made our government more efficient and responsive by exercising fiscal responsibility by holding the line on taxes and balancing the city budget all without cutting services or eliminating jobs
• We have worked together to end strife within local government and brining harmony and civility to government.
• We have strengthened Jeffersonville’s economy by attracting and creating nearly 2,200 new jobs.
• We have made our city better by continuing downtown revitalization, creating a city beuatification and improving the city parks.
• We have promoted creative and innovative projects in downtown such as the development of the river falls motel and lounge into condominiums and worked to help businsses rebuild after the fire destroyed part of historic spring street.
• After years of study by previous administrations, we broke ground on an $11 million project that incloudes two new fire stations and city garage.
• We led the effort to secure federal funding to construct the ohio river greenway and expanded the use of the river stage along our riverfront.”
3) If your constituency were awarded $10 million with no strings attached, what would you recommend spending it on first?
“When I took office three years ago, I promised to restore confidence in city government by spending tax dollars wisely and eliminating waste. As a businessman, I believe in fiscal responsibility. I would first recommend that we use these funds to provide tax relief to property owners. Secondly, I would recommend that a share of these funds be set aside into a rainy day fund. And thirdly, I would support using the remainder to target certain areas for revitalization such as downtown and the 10th Street corridor, to continue to improve and expand our city parks.”
4) What type of relationship will you have with the City Council? How will you ensure professionalism and productivity?“Citizens made it clear three years ago they were tired of the political fighting and strife that landed on the front page. While there may be disagreements, we are now resolving the issues without discourse and litigation.
The only way for us to continue moving Jeffersonville forward is to put politics aside and build coalitions to solve problems for our community. In the last three years, we have restored dignity and professionalism to city government. We will continue to focus on working with other government and community leaders to make progress.”
5) What will your specific role be with city neighborhood groups? “It’s important that the mayor listen and respond to all citizens. Staying in touch with neighborhoods is the best way to make this happen. In my three years, I have held monthly “mayor’s night in your neighborhood” sessions where I along with other city officials visit a neighborhood. This has given us an excellent opportunity to hear from citizens.”
6) At this point, what can the city do to encourage the development of the Jeffersonville Town Center?
“We want to ensure that we have a high quality development. We have offered nearly $7 million in incentives to develop the Jeffersonville town center. The center will be the first of its kind in the region. It will be mix use development containing 800,000 square feet of shopping, entertainment and office space. Unfortuantely, the property is not owned by the city, but is privately owned. Therefore, the city can only encourage the development with incentives.
“We are working with the same developer today that the previous administration dealt with. The city has no control over how and when the property is developed. We have worked very closely with the developer to help the Jeffersonville town center become a reality.
“I believe that we should not develop just for the sake of development. That doesn’t make good economic sense. With the Jeffersonville Town Center, we have an unique opportunity to develop our portion of veterans parkway into a true destination point for Southern Indiana.”
7) As an elected official, what have been the two best and two worst decisions you’ve made?
“While we have accomplished so much in the last three years, there are two decisions that I consider to be among the best. The first, was my decision to run for mayor four years ago in an effort to bring quality leadership to Jeffersonville and restore civility and respect to city government; and the second, was promoting economic development by helping create nearly 2,200 new jobs in the last three years with the addition of new businesses such as MedVenture and Key Electronics and the expansion of existing businesses such as Jeffboat, heartland payment systems and steel dymanics.
“Of course, there is always room for improvement. However, there were two decisions that I consider to be the worse. First, I regret when I was on the city council that I did not do more to support the city employees who were terminated by the former mayor on Christmas Eve. Second, I should have done more to promote my administration and its accomplishments since taking office.”
8) What’s the best idea for Jeffersonville that nobody’s talked about publicly? “We should look into the development of a regional hotel and conference center in Jeffersonville. There is a vacuum for a venue for small conventions and conferences. Our location makes Jeffersonville the optimal location to fill that void while benefiting our local economy.”
9) Have you ever been convicted of a non-traffic court crime in the United States? If so, please explain all relevant instances. “No.”
10) Please state your platform and ideas for dealing with the following issues.
• Annexation of new properties to the city “It is important for our city to grow and prosper. One way to accomplish this is to annex. We should only annex areas when: 1) we are certain that it won’t increase property taxes on existing and new residents and 2) that we adequately servie the annexed area without sacrifcing services to existing citizens.”
• Privatization of city services “I believe we have outstanding city employees who are dedicated to making our city better. I also realize that budget constraints make privatizing certain city services an option. But privatization is not always the answer if it does not save tax dollars and we cannot guarantee that city services will not be diminished. I think that before there is privatization of any city service the issue should be studied very thorough to ensure that it makes sense financially and logistically.”
• City infrastructure (road conditions, abandoned property, etc) “While past administrations studied the problems facing Jeffersonville’s infrastructure and sewer system, we took action by securing a $25 million sewer improvement proejct to keep Jeffersonville in compliance with federal and state environmental mandates. In addition, we have worked to improve our quality of life by ensuring we have well maintained roads and sidewalks. We have made long overdue improvements to our city roads and sidewalks, including projects along Charlestown Pike and Perrin Lane.”
• The greenway project “The greenway project is vital to development of our riverfront. The funding for the greenway was jeopardy when we took office three years ago. We worked with community leaders to lobby congress for the federal dollars to make the greenway a reality. Today, the project is nearly complete. We soon will have walking and bicycle paths along the river’s edge including benches and period lighting.
“Our focus is now to complete the big four bridge project. We are now working to secure funding to construct a ramp to the big four bridge so we have a ped way on the former railroad bridge connecting our greenway with lousiville’s waterfront park.”
• Downtown’s role in city growth “The downtown is the heart of any vibrant community. We must remain committed to promoting creative and innovative projects to continue our downtown’s revitalization. We are doing this by helping make downtown an exciting place to live, work and play. We are promoting single family home ownership by developing the river falls motel and lounge into 16 condominiums. With the renovation and transformation of this long remembered eye sore, we are making our downtown stronger.”