Carmel City Council member Jeff Worrell has announced plans to seek an at-large seat in the 2019 election, a new position created by Carmel becoming a second class city in 2016.
Worrell was first elected to the council in 2015 to represent the southeast district. He served on the Carmel Redevelopment Commission for many years before that.
“I’m a little melancholy about leaving a district. I’ve really enjoyed serving as district councilor, but I view this as a personal challenge,” Worrell said. “Serving more of Carmel and being available to help people who might not live in my district is enticing to me.”
Worrell said he anticipates serving as an at-large candidate would allow him to become more involved with big-picture issues, such as zoning and long-term planning.
The city council is currently comprised of five councilors elected from districts in the city and two elected at-large to represent all of Carmel. The 2019 elections will add another district councilor and one at-large position. Earlier this month the council announced a plan and timeline for creating a new district and redrawing boundary lines for the existing ones.
Worrell said he likely would not have sought an at-large seat if it meant running against an incumbent.
“I probably would not have run against my colleagues, and I’m totally happy in the southeast district,” he said. “This just is an opportunity that will probably never present itself again.”
Worrell said he isn’t looking at the at-large office as a stepping stone to higher political office, such as mayor.
“I love being a city councilor, and I want to serve more people and connect with more people,” he said. “Should that opportunity ever present itself, that’s great, but we have a mayor and I support him.”
Worrell said his campaign will focus on completing the 96th Street and Keystone Parkway interchange project on time and within budget, easing the “pain of road construction” and attracting jobs to the area.
While he’s ready for a new challenge, Worrell said it will be difficult to leave his first role on the city council.
“I feel like (the southeast district) is my baby, and I do believe there will be a very qualified candidate to step in and fill that void,” he said. “That gives me comfort to know the residents of the southeast district will still be cared for in a matter that they’re used to or better than I could have done.”