Kitchell announces candidacy for second term as Logansport mayor

Last Updated on December 29, 2022 by Dave Kitchell

At an event on Thursday, Dec. 15 at The People’s Winery, Dave Kitchell announced that he plans to seek a second term as mayor of Logansport. He previously served as mayor from 2016-2019.

Below is the text of the announcement he shared with us:

Good evening. Thank you for taking time out of a busy holiday season to be here with us tonight. We so appreciate it.

First I want to acknowledge the Angles for indulging us here tonight. I also want to acknowledge some of the people here.

Eight years ago during the third week of December, I made an announcement a couple of blocks west of here. I pledged then that I would show up for you, stand up for you and speak up for you. And I said if I messed up, I would fess up to you. I said then that I would treat people in the spirit of the name of the Logansport department store where my grandmother worked – The Golden Rule. And I still will

I believed in accountability then, and I believe in it now. I believe the mayor’s race in 2023 will largely be about it. It’s really going to be a year to help working families and senior citizens navigate a period when inflation is eating away at our gas gauges, our grocery bill, our monthly budgets and our retirement savings. 

It’s important to think about the next four years, but let’s pause for a moment to think about how far we’ve come since I made that announcement back in 2015. We went from a city that was under a state of emergency to build a city pool to one of 22 finalists in the All-America City Awards – a level few cities in Indiana, let alone the rest of the nation, have ever reached. We’ve come a long way as a community, and we’ve done many things the right way. Still we have, as one author said, miles to go before we sleep. 

The coming year will be a chance for those who want the best for our city to be involved in ongoing discussions about investing in Logansport’s future: Its housing, businesses, neighborhoods, utilities, infrastructure, economic development and quality of life.

It will be about making a police department one that again allows us to lay claim of being one of the top 25 safest cities in Indiana – and maybe in the top 10 again.

It will be about a job you can’t marry into, but at some level, you have to be married to it.

It will be about determining the future of the Cass County Memorial Center in a way that preserves it not just for posterity, but for prosperity.

It will be about making the Board of Public Works and Safety a weekly exercise in the fine points of running our city departments, not fining property owners exorbitantly if they can’t physically or financially maintain their properties.

It will be about doing for Fifth Street what we did for Sixth Street that is now coming into fruition. It also will be about doing for the rest of downtown what our facade program started in the last year of our term.

It will be about protecting our children and perhaps adding an additional school resource officer to the Logansport High School campus. It will be about involving students in our city government and preventing those who deal drugs from impacting their lives and their future. Recently, I was appalled to see so little involvement of our city administration in the Red Ribbon Week festivities. We can’t be bystanders in the fight against fentanyl. I was among mayors who pursued opioid settlement money for our police, but we can never settle for just money. We have to actively be vigilant in our efforts to keep drugs and drug dealers off the streets and out of our community.

It will be about the reasons why a housing master plan has stalled in our community and forced those who want to work and live here to be in other cities. It will be about housing for single families, senior citizens, first-time home buyers and empty nesters. 

It will be about treating our department heads and city and utility employees with the respect due the people we entrust with marching orders to protect and build our city forward and not as if they are hostages to the Public Employees Retirement Fund and they only stay on the job because they don’t want to lose a pension.

It will be about continuing the renewal of our municipal utilities and giving the ratepayer more value for their dollars.

It will not be about settling political scores, but about scoring points for our city going forward. It will be about electing a mayor who is no better than any other citizen of this city and expects to be treated like everyone else.

It will not be a beauty contest, but it will be a deliberative process that showcases the issues people need to know about, need to think about – and most importantly – need to vote on in the May primary. We need to be mindful of the fact every time we hear the Ukrainian Bell Carol this holiday season, that there are millions in Ukraine who are praying, fighting and dying to keep the right that more than 75 percent of our registered voters did not exercise in the 2019 city election. I think about that every time I see the Ukrainian flag flying outside the library.

It will be about a statement I’ve made monthly for more than a year: Leadership matters to Logansport. And to that end, I’m announcing tonight that I will be running for mayor in the 2023 city primary.

I’m running to be a partner and not a politician. I’m running to serve the public, and not myself or my interests. I’m running for my family and their futures. I’m running, because as I said in 2015, a good mayor is like a good spouse: He or she brings out the best in a community.

Logansport has been great to me and it has been home. It’s my hope that if we succeed in the next four years, that Logansport will be home to a generation that sees its potential as a welcoming place that cares more about the condition of each block than what’s on Tik-Tok.

We’ve reached a point in our country where we are very divided in so many ways. I have friends on both sides of the aisle and some who are independents. I think all of us can say we appreciate public servants who are “ables” more than those who just have “labels.” Sometimes those labels should be like factory seconds marked “irregular” that are marked down for clearance.

Much was made four years ago when another candidate for Logansport mayor received the endorsement from the former mayor of Frankfort. I’d like to note that nothing was mentioned about a request from the Republican Mayor of Warsaw, Joe Thallemer, who asked me to endorse him. I did, and he won. I appreciate this because with all due respect to Frankfort, I would rather our community mirror Warsaw and Columbus – two Indiana cities with Republican mayors I respect – that have higher incomes, more housing and retail, and perhaps most importantly, an eye on the future and how we can succeed in it.

In closing, the city of Idlewild, California, has a different approach to the mayor’s office. They chose a dog named Max to be their mayor, and he shows up at some events and is the spirit animal that makes everyone feel good about the community. But in Logansport, we can’t roll over and play dead. We have to fetch our future and  retrieve the kind of city we all want for our generation and the next.

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