by Laura Giffel
City-County Council Candidate, District 16
I am running for Council because strong, healthy neighborhoods come from experience and leadership and I would bring that experience and leadership to this position. I also believe that neighborhoods are the building blocks of a strong city and as neighborhood president of Bates-Hendricks I have worked to identify problems and find solutions with the city and community partners. This is the same passion I will bring for all neighborhoods in District 16.
I believe the way to achieve strong, healthy neighborhoods are through 4 main initiatives: a long-term funding plan for our infrastructure, a fully-supported public safety force, effective tools from the city and a responsive city government.
The deteriorating state of infrastructure in our city is not a secret and I believe we must find a long-term solution to ensure that this problem does not continue to plague our city. I will continue to work with our State Representatives and partner with others to advocate for a change in the road funding formula that is a large cause of our funding issues. Additionally, I believe that road resurfacing priorities should be based on a data-driven approach and we should ensure that this work is done equitably across the district. As a frequent pedestrian and cyclist, I believe that our streets should be safe for residents of all ages and I will fight to protect our walkable neighborhoods.
Like most urban cities we are also searching for solutions for our increasing violence and murder rates. We need to employ a preventative and proactive strategy that will increase access to social services for those experiencing mental health crises as well as ensuring that our IMPD officers are well-compensated and morale is high. In my ride along with IMPD SE I have seen first hand their struggle on a daily basis to cover large beats with less than ideal staffing. I support a comprehensive study to determine why we are unable to recruit and retain officers in Indianapolis and additional funding to address these challenges.
Our urban neighborhoods face unique challenges that require innovative solutions. Many of our areas are challenged with high numbers of vacant and abandoned housing. I believe that the City has the ability to track the health of every parcel of land to determine trends and prevent properties from falling into disrepair. I support the problem property task force in their goal to find solutions for these properties that frustrate our residents. As we see an increase in long and short term rentals, I believe we can do more to strengthen our existing landlord registry, including requiring that non-owner occupied AirBnBs register as landlords.
Lastly I believe that local government should be accessible and responsive. As a Councillor, I will continue to attend meetings and share updates from the Council in a clear and concise way. I will send weekly emails to share successes from the District as well as my stance on Council items. Having an experienced, active Councillor who advocates for our neighborhoods will ensure that our residents are well cared for. I’ve enjoyed getting to meet my neighbors over the past 10 months and I would be honored to represent you for the next four years.
You can see more of my work in the community at www.lauragiffel.com