JEFFERSONVILLE — The 2019 Jeffersonville General Election will feature two familiar faces battling for mayor.
On the Republican side, incumbent Mike Moore hopes to secure his third term. His challenger is former Mayor Tom Galligan, who previously held the position for 12 years, but lost to Moore eight years ago.
The News and Tribune caught up with both men Tuesday, when neither faced a challenger in the Primary Election.
Moore said he believes the city has been on one of its biggest upward trends ever, and that if he is re-elected, he'll make sure that continues.
"Jeffersonville is in the midst of its strongest eight years in history," Moore said. "That hasn't happened by accident. We have followed a path. We set some goals when we first came in, and we achieved just about everything we've set out to do in the first two terms — job growth, infrastructure, quality of life and building our schools. Those are four basic things that I think any successful community is based on."
Galligan, however, believes he laid the foundation for Jeffersonville's growth.
"I was mayor for 12 years, and I had a lot of accomplishments," Galligan said. "All you're seeing right now is somebody who is picking the low-hanging fruit. The property that I bought, [Moore's] selling and giving away. That's all well and good, but I did all the groundwork. I got it all ready to do, then he's telling them about his progress. Progress is creating a community that is where everybody can live, thrive and enjoy themselves. I think this community needs leadership. It needs somebody to figure out the problems and solve the problems, so it doesn't cost the taxpayers money. You have to do the best job you can do with the least amount of cost."
FIRST STEPS IF ELECTED
If re-elected, Moore said he will focus on the 65-acre Jeff Boat property, which launched its last barge in April 2018. He said that he plans to have the city acquire the land for redevelopment.
"It's what built the city of Jeffersonville over the last 100 plus years," Moore said. "We're no longer a city that builds barges. That's a huge tool for us to use. I've worked closely with the owners. We are pursuing that property, and I'm hopeful that the city of Jeffersonville will take possession of it possibly next year. I know they've sold all of the equipment. I would love to take the greenway through the middle of that property and extend it up to the abandoned railroad tracks on Utica Pike and make that a nice connection to 10th Street. I see not only green space, but I see some commercial development, and a lot residential development. It's prime property right on the Ohio River. I would love to put it out there and ask for people's ideas. I think it's something that we can have out there that we've never had before."
For Galligan, the biggest priority would be to repair roads in the city. Road construction throughout the area, he added, has caused disruption for local businesses.
"The first thing I'd do is get the roads built back up to where they need to be instead of having potholes all over the place," Galligan said. "It used to be you need a chicken in every pot. Now, we need asphalt in every pothole. Utica Pike is terrible, Eighth Street is terrible, and Holmans Lane is terrible. They're reconstructing it, but it's so bad now that it's unbelievable. We need better planning, not just doing something that takes forever. All of these businesses are struggling just to make it while they're doing this grandiose reconstruction. Nobody is taking into consideration that they need to be kept open."
Looking ahead, both candidates mentioned a desire to not only maintain the city as it expands, but also to make sure it continues to provide a high quality of life to the next generation of residents.
Moore said his focus is improving the city's infrastructure and preparing young people for the evolving workforce.
"The most gratifying for me has been the Jeffersonville Promise," Moore said. "We're offering a free college scholarship to anyone who graduates from Jeffersonville High School. Nobody else is doing that. That's going to benefit the businesses, because we need an educated workforce. Helping our kids is going to help our future.
Galligan believes that as the city moves forward, its leaders need to get back to the root of what it means to be a civil servant.
"I think we have lost perspective of who we work for, and I think we need to get it back," Galligan said. "We need to get some modesty and integrity back in there. I wasn't planning on running, but I can't stand and watch this. I'm a principled individual. You can like me or not like me, but I do stand on principle."
Through that philosophy of people first, Galligan hopes to create change for members of the community who otherwise have nowhere to turn.
"The reason I like this job is because it is the place that you can help someone who never thought they could get any help, and it makes them feel good," Galligan said. "You can solve a problem for them that they can never get solved anywhere else. I'm proud of a whole lot of things in this community, because it's better off. I enjoy making positive things happen. That's why I'm running."