Compiled by Ann Marie Shambaugh
Zionsville Town Council members Susana Suarez and Jeff Papa represent the town at-large, and they are the only candidates to file for the two at-large seats in the May primary. Suarez, 46, is the town council vice president and a resident of Zionsville for seven years, while Papa, 45, is a past president who has lived in the town for 13 years.
Name: Susana Suarez
How did you and your family end up in Zionsville?
We relocated to Indianapolis from Boston because of my husband’s job. After being showed everything in Carmel and one house in Zionsville, we fell in love with the look and feel of Zionsville.
Why do you want to run for elected office?
Once we were established in Zionsville I became involved with the issues that were affecting our community. I am passionate about our community and preserving the qualities that brought us here. I’m uniquely positioned to bring a national and global corporate as well as government perspective to our municipality.
What is your previous political experience?
I have had experience in the political arena for over 20 years, working my first campaign for Ronald Reagan. I have held top posts in the Republican National Committee, as well as worked for both Bush presidents in top executive positions, including as the Assistant Director of FEMA during 9’11. I had not run as a candidate until I was compelled to serve the people of Zionsville. I was appointed by Gov Daniels to the Indiana Higher Education Commission where I currently serve in the executive committee.
What are your top priorities if elected?
My top priorities for Zionsville are to continue the path of economic growth we put our town on when elected, building upon the legacy of the former council. We have much more work to do to ensure we have a balance while our tax base expands. This cannot be at the cost of our rural and agricultural residents, and I’ve been fighting hard to protect all of our communities’ interests.
What are your qualifications to run for this office?
I’ve been honored to have held top level executive positions in numerous Fortune 500 Corporations, such as Anheuser-Busch, CEMEX, Holcim and Allegion where I ran large organizations and budgets, with accountability for results and the bottom line to investors.
What is your favorite thing about Zionsville?
What area do you think is Zionsville’s greatest need for improvement?
Besides growing that 3 percent tax base it’s investing in our staff and in our people.
Favorite local restaurant: ALL OF THEM – although you will often find me at Cobblestone Grill
Favorite movie: Gone with the Wind
Family: Fantastic husband who just gave an inspiring TEDx talk on Wisdom #thewiseguy and two beautiful little girls
Pets: A VERY large Bernese Mountain Dog
Favorite vacation: Seabrook Island, S.C.
Something you’d like readers to know about you: My hobby is cooking
Something most people don’t know about you: I’m an Olympic Archer
Name: Jeff Papa
Why do you want to run for elected office?
In order to continue the good work of the council and school board for our community.
What is your previous political experience? Incumbent town council member. Previously served on Eagle Township Board and Eagle Township Parks Board.
What are your top priorities if elected? Continue to improve the community tax base, continue to work closely with the schools, continue Zionsville’s top rankings and protect the unique character of our town.
What are your qualifications to run for office? Four years on town council (one as vice president and two as president). Prior service on township government.
What is your favorite thing about Zionsville? Friendly people in a safe community.
What is Zionsville’s greatest need for improvement? Continued progress on tax base balance is critical. We set a goal in 2011 of reducing reliance on residential property tax from 97 percent to 80 percent by 2020. We have already reduced this proportion to about 90 percent in three years.
Favorite restaurant: Greek’s Pizzeria
Favorite movie: Red Dawn (original)
Favorite quote/motto: “I don’t believe in the no-win scenario.” – JT Kirk
Family: 2 girls. Rosemary (9); Violet (8).
Pets: 1 horse; 1 dog
Favorite vacation spot: Nepal, Moscow
Something you’d like readers to know about you: our orphanage in Nepal can be found at www.yetikids.org
Something most people don’t know about you: I have studied, worked, volunteered, or taught in Russia, Ukraine, South Korea, France, Mexico, China, Brazil, Mongolia, and Nepal.