Carmel City Council member Laura Campbell, a Republican, is facing a challenge from Democrat William L. Howard for the redistricted North District in the Nov. 5 municipal election. They answered the following questions from Current.
Name: William L Howard II
Years in Carmel: 5
Family: Wife, Dr. Danette G. Howard; son, William L. Howard III; daughter, Ava J. Howard
Education: Freeport Memorial High School, Bethune-Cookman University, Webster University
Occupation: At-home parent and substitute teacher
More info: WilliamLHoward.com
Previous political experience: I campaigned for Hamilton County Council District 4 last year in the 2018 midterm election.
Why do you want to run for office? We live in a city where our municipal government is run by one party. Good and effective government requires a balance. Additionally, I strongly believe that local government should be representative of the constituents that it serves and currently that is not the case.
What issues are important to you? While my campaign focuses on addressing our city council’s lack of transparency, accountability, diversity, fiscal sustainability and the independence of the city council, I plan to continue looking forward while focusing on improving local growth, reinvesting in small businesses, implementing technological enhancements and assuring that we have affordable housing.
What are your qualifications for this office? I hold a (Bachelor of Science) in Business Administration and a Master of Business Administration. I have over 20 years of experience in managing government organizations, evaluating and analyzing budgets and leading performance improvement efforts in the private sector as well as within state and federal government. I have also started and managed my own small business that currently operates and services multiple states.
What sets you apart from other candidates for this office? My campaign represents a new energy and a change for Carmel, a paradigm shift from old Carmel politics. I am different because I am a highly qualified candidate with a portfolio of diverse and unique work and educational experiences and a passion to serve. Most importantly, I am here to listen to all voters and be Carmel’s independent voice on the city council with passion and conviction.
What is your favorite aspect of living in Carmel? Carmel is our home. Carmel is everything we wanted in a city to raise our children. We love the “small-town” feel of the downtown area, the bike and walking paths as well as being centrally located to Indy. Most importantly, it’s the people of Carmel that we love most. When we relocated to Carmel, we were welcomed with open arms by our neighbors and community.
What is an area where Carmel can improve? Transparency and engagement. I believe in open government and citizen engagement. When a government is transparent, its citizens can see its inner workings — its processes, procedures, budgets, priorities, plans and decision-making strategies. In a transparent government, the public’s business is conducted in public view and is subject to review, discussion, dissent and even corrective action. Transparent government is conducted out in the open so all can see what is going on. The council can improve by changing how and when the meetings are conducted — more accessible to the public, be more transparent about how the business before the council is being handled — decisions and spending, and the council can listen and engage more with the public; public input and commentary.
What other organizations are you involved with?
- Northview Church: Carmel campus
- Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity: Iota Lambda chapter
- Free and Accepted Masons: Carmel Lodge 421
- Make-A-Wish Foundation
- Boy Scouts of America
- Noble of Indiana – Project Search
- Special Olympics Indiana
Something most people don’t know about you? I am the chef in our home. I love to cook for my family and friends.
Something you want people to know about you? I strongly believe that municipal elections should be nonpartisan because the vast number of services that our city government provides are neither Republican nor Democrat in nature, but our local elections are partisan, therefore we must seek to be more open-minded in whom to support.
Ultimately, Carmel deserves the best representation on its city council. I am asking that careful thought be given to bypassing partisanship by leaving behind Carmel politics of old and consider supporting a candidate that might hold a differing view or is of a different political affiliation.
Let’s put Carmel first and continue to make it the No. 1 place in the nation to live work and play.
Name: Laura D. Campbell
Years in Carmel: Since 2001, and previously from 1977 to 1990
Family: Husband, Rick, and daughter and two sons
Education: Carmel High School and Ball State University
Occupation: City council, community volunteering and being a mom
More info: lauracampbellforcarmel.com.
Previous political experience: I am currently serving my first term serving the city council’s Northwest District. I also serve as the chairman of the Hamilton County Republican Party and previously was the vice chairman of the party and the party’s executive director for nine years.
Why do you want to run for office?
I have always had an interest in municipal government and public service and have not had an interest in running for another government office other than city council. Since the beginning of my term on council, I have enjoyed serving the citizens of Carmel. I have learned more about the city and what makes it special. I have a lot of contact with constituents, and it’s an honor to be able to help them resolve issues that they may have. Hearing their concerns as well as what they like about living in Carmel is a big part of the job.
What issues are important to you?
I want to make sure that Carmel continues to be considered one of the best places to live in the country. We have a lot to be proud of, which is evident when I speak with elected officials around the state and the nation. I will work to ensure that Carmel continues to have high-quality roads and infrastructure, low crime and all of the amenities that Carmel provides for a low tax rate.
What sets you apart from other candidates?
I grew up in Carmel and graduated from Carmel High School. While I lived in Indianapolis for a few years, I have most recently lived in Carmel since 2001. Due to the length of time I have lived in the city and have been active in Carmel, and through my work on city council, I have a very thorough knowledge of the city. I communicate with people throughout the city and hear from people of all different backgrounds. I have the flexibility to spend the amount of time it takes to serve the residents of Carmel. It is more than just two meetings a month – there are a lot of meetings and phone calls with constituents that take place in between the council meetings.
What is your favorite aspect of living in Carmel?
The people in Carmel make the city a special place to live, and I have been fortunate to meet many of them through all of the things there are to do in Carmel, such as theater, community activities, events, shops, restaurants and parks. I enjoy walking and hiking, and we have some terrific parks for outdoor fitness.
What is an area where Carmel can improve?
Disability awareness and mental health initiatives. I am working with the city on developing a Carmel Advisory Committee on Disability that will focus on accessibility, employment and social interaction issues. Mental health issues affect our residents, their families and businesses, and the city is working on developing mental health initiatives. I believe that government does have a role in addressing these issues which affect our community.
What other organizations are you involved with?
I am developing the Carmel Advisory Committee on Disability, which will focus on accessibility and employment issues and work to create social connections for residents with disabilities and their families; I serve as a board member of Discovering Broadway; and I chair the Hamilton County Republican Party. I have volunteered at the elementary and high school schools, since all three of my children have attended Carmel schools. I also volunteer at community events, such as emceeing Carmel on Canvas and personally support arts organizations in the city.
Something that most people don’t know about you?
I was born in Connecticut and lived in New Jersey before my family moved to Carmel in 1977. During my years in high school and college, I had planned on leaving Carmel and living back on the East Coast after college. While I had a summer internship in New York City that was a fantastic experience, I understood how expensive it was to live on the East Coast – my quality of life wouldn’t have been as good as it would be in Indiana. After graduation, I took a job with a public relations firm which promoted the city of Indianapolis while living in Carmel and have lived in the area since graduating from college.
Something you want people to know about you?
I am a staunch advocate for public safety and believe that public safety is a top priority for a successful, growing community. I graduated from the Carmel Citizens Police Academy in 2010 and completed the Hamilton County Fire Ops program in October 2015. I have worked with our fire and police departments to develop the Specific Response Registry, an opt-in advance notification system which allows people to notify first responders in advance of an emergency if they have a physical or mental health issue that would make it difficult to leave their home in the event of an emergency.