“I want to do this the right way,” said Parker later that night on the Johnnystir Show on IndianaTalks.com (my show). “If I run, I want to build a coalition.”
Monday’s talk with the Decatur Democrats was the first local talk Parker had given on the potential of taking on Mayor Greg Ballard in 2015. Of course, Ballard himself has yet to announce if he’s running for a third term, and Parker said that taking him on will take some tact and some initiative.
“You have to realize that Mayor Ballard has built a certain brand,” said Parker. “He never says the word Republican. When you ask people about him, they’ll tell you Mayor Ballard is a nice guy. They’ll tell you that the Mayor has done a good job…just a good job, but they often can’t specifically tell you why.”
“I don’t like his brand, but you have to respect that brand that he’s built, and we aren’t going to win by tearing down his brand and simply saying he’s a bad person,” said Parker.
Instead Parker said it’s going to take a plan to beat Ballard in 2015. He said that he’s not worried about getting people to move back to Indianapolis from Carmel. He wants to make sure that there are good jobs here in Indianapolis for young people graduating from college so they don’t leave in the first place. He also wants to improve our schools so that young families don't depart for surrounding districts.
As far as job growth goes, Parker said that the high-paying jobs are going to other communities around the city rather than to Indianapolis despite the Mayor’s many trade missions. Parker said he wants to get those companies to settle in Marion County. He also said that when considering new development that the Mayor needs to realize that Indianapolis is more than just downtown. “We are a city of 400 square miles. I’m not opposed to downtown development, but we need to remember that there’s more to our city than just the mile square downtown,” Parker said.
Stressing the need for unity, Parker said that we, as Indy residents, all need to feel connected. He said that as he goes around and talks to people that some feel more connected to their local neighborhood than Indy as a whole, an idea of “one city” rather than a bunch of communities.
Parker’s talk was more vision than details of how to reach the vision, but it was clear that he’s put a great deal of thought into what a campaign might look like. He also has to know how Republicans are going to come at him since he was a former Indiana Democratic Party Chairman.
As Parker spoke, he many times made reference to Frank Short in a cordial manner. The Washington Township Trustee is already running for Mayor having officially formed an exploratory committee. He was seated just a few feet from Parker.