GUEST COLUMN: Mayoral candidate addresses statements by opponent

Cass County Communication Network welcomes letters to the editor and guest columns. The views expressed by the author do not necessarily represent those of Existential Media LLC or its owners, advertisers or sponsors. The following letter was submitted October 21, 2019 by Dave Kitchell, Democrat candidate for Logansport mayor.

During the recent Logansport candidate forum, my opponent said he doesn’t support applying for matching government grants for city projects.

Ironically, he indicated he sought advice from Wabash Mayor Scott Long. On the day of the forum, Mayor Long and I were each notified our cities were recipients of state Community Crossings road grant funding. Logansport received $177,000 for paving streets worn down during the Market Street Bridge project. Scott received more than four times that funding for Wabash.

No one should expect a handout, but residents in cities should expect to receive their fair share of state and federal tax dollars. Objecting to using funds set aside for cities would put our police and firefighters at risk, as well as those they are protecting. It would have prevented the construction of 30 new homes being built right now in our city. It would restrict road paving and construction. State and federal dollars represent the lion’s share of funding that builds our airports.

Further, to correct his description of us, our administration has never told anyone “It’s my way or the highway.” In 2016 and 2017, we built the largest consensus of any city participating in Indiana’s Hometown Collaboration Initiative – 1,994 participants. We’ve also been involved in the Logansport Reimagined series and My Community, My Vision, which incorporated ideas from local students. To say we don’t govern by consensus is more than misleading. In fact, my opponent wasn’t even living in the community for a portion of the past four years when these things were happening.

Finally, Logansport has gone from the brink of many costly long-term problems to the threshold of many solutions — new housing with Logan Square and ReVere Homes, cheaper solar power, nicer streets and parks, and perhaps most importantly, more jobs with higher pay and a rising population. While he contends we are “waiting” for new businesses to come, we in fact have more downtown businesses and more businesses on Mall Road, which no longer has empty storefronts. Our assessed value is up $24 million after declining in the term before us.

Logansport could elect its fifth mayor in six elections, but Logansport needs continuity and stability. What other Indiana city where you’d want to live has experienced the leadership turnover we have? None.

In this campaign, it’s not time to scream “Abandon ship.” It’s time for voters to say, “Full-speed ahead.”

Dave Kitchell