|Mayor Greg Ballard|
While it's not shocking now, I was at one time convinced that the Marion County Republican Party would convince Ballard to follow their plan instead of his, but, in the end, Ballard decided that his heart just was not in this run. I can understand and respect that.
Listen, I've been brutal at times to the Mayor here, and I know you all know that. I can't reverse what I've written here. Ballard has been the most commonly-tagged individual here on this blog. You can click on his name to the side and find out everything I've tagged his name on that has been published here. I'll save you some time; I've thrown far more criticism his way than praise. I can't change it, and I don't regret it. Mayor Ballard and I simply don't agree on a lot of things.
However, I still remember the first time I met Greg Ballard. Then State Representative Phil Hinkle was escorting Ballard around the Ben Davis Lions Club Pancake Breakfast. At that time, Hinkle represented the area as he had for years, and the incident that would ultimately end his political career was beyond anyone's conception. Hinkle was the one folks thought might run for Mayor at one point.
Here Hinkle was, dragging around this guy who said he was interested in being Mayor of Indianapolis, and I couldn't have been less impressed. He was nice enough, but he was extremely timid as I recall. Even after he secured the nomination to challenge Bart Peterson, Ballard would often walk into a room full of people and sit down. By contrast, you watch a guy like Joe Hogsett work a room, and you know he's there. He's a whirling dervish of handshakes, hugs, and kisses. When Ballard worked a room, it was likely people coming to him back in those days. He's definitely grown into the job, and I think he enjoys that aspect of being Mayor.
It's still remarkable that Greg Ballard defeated one of the most powerful Democrats in the history of Marion County, Bart Peterson. He took him down, and then he earned a second term by defeating Melina Kennedy. Even his own party didn't believe in him in 2007. In January of 2016, he'll leave office having been one of the few Republicans to run a city of Indy's size in the 21st Century. Whatever I think about his record...his successes and failures...that deserves and commands my respect.
I have no idea if Greg Ballard knows who I am or not, but he's always been cordial and nothing but nice in the times I've met him. I've found him to be better in smaller groups than larger ones, and I clearly think he thinks that he has Indianapolis' best interests at heart.
So, Mr. Mayor, cheers to you. For the sake of our city, I wish you the best for the rest of your term. Do good things for good people, and we both know there are plenty of them in this city. Thanks for your service.
Greg Ballard is a good man who is by all indications a good husband and father to his kids. That means whatever I've written here about him is all secondary.