After Zionsville Mayor Emily Styron’s expletive-laced Facebook comments in the aftermath of the May 24 mass-shooting deaths of 19 students and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas, Zionsville residents have voiced strong opinions about her post.
For example, Zionsville resident Shelley Skillman sent an email to town council members and other town officials requesting the council impeach Styron.
Although she voted for Styron in the 2019 election, Skillman said she has not been impressed by the Democrat mayor’s performance.
“Any time there’s an opportunity to have someone in a position of power in an area so strongly pulled to the right, I think it’s great. We need that balance,” Skillman said of why she voted for Styron. “I don’t believe in either way too far. It’s polarizing, it’s damaging, it furthers the divide. Unfortunately, I feel like that’s exactly what happened by having (Styron) as mayor.
“Instead of giving us balance, it’s been kind of my way or the highway.”
Skillman emailed several town council members, the town’s HR director, media outlets and others requesting an investigation into Styron’s behavior. She also called on the town council to impeach Styron, who Skillman also emailed.
Skillman, however, doesn’t expect any action will be taken.
“I’m not normally this outspoken on politics,” Skillman said. “I want them to know it’s not OK. I don’t know what it’s going to take to get her removed, and maybe there’s nothing we can do, but I still want it on record. I don’t want to sit back and say I did nothing.”
Styron told Current she had no plans to resign and has received strong support in the wake of her Facebook comments. She plans to run for a second term next year.
“I am hopeful I will get another four years,” she said. “I will certainly give voters the opportunity to make that decision.”
As of June 6, Skillman had received one response to her email from Zionsville Town Council member Josh Garrett.
Council member Bryan Traylor posted on his Bryan Traylor – Zionsville Town Council, District 1 Facebook page that Indiana law makes it difficult, if not impossible, to impeach a mayor unless the mayor committed a felony. Traylor stated in the post that Styron owes the Town of Zionsville an apology.
“I can appreciate the impassioned Zionsville community demanding action, but this is only the most visible example of what the Town Council has been dealing with for 3 years,” the post stated. “If you disagree with the Mayor, she writes you off, until it’s budget season, then she wants to mend fences to get her budget approved.”
Skillman said she’s disappointed in Styron’s performance in office.
“She promoted herself as being someone who could work with the other side,” Skillman said. “With someone so outwardly promoting social justice, you would think of things like inclusivity, tolerance and respect. I haven’t seen any of that from her.”
Skillman said if roles were reversed and a resident cursed at Styron on social media, the response would be different.
“I think it would be a major blow up and they would be villainizing that person,” she said. “It’s shocking to see some of the support for her. I mean, come on, people. You just don’t treat people that way. I’m just shocked she would speak to someone that way and just be so blatantly horrible.”
When asked her thoughts on residents requesting her resignation, Styron said she promotes free speech.
“I think that every citizen in this county, town, state, country has a freedom of speech to ask for what they want or to express their dissatisfaction with their leaders,” Styron said. “It is the beautiful, beautiful part of democracy. I celebrate individuals exercising their rights in that regard. Elections are where we get to determine who serves in elected office.”
Styron said other elected officials, such as Traylor, also have cursed in public.
“I, too, have used profanity in expressing outrage over the murder of nearly a whole classroom of children,” Styron said. “Sometimes harsh language seems to be the only thing that expresses our concerns.”
Styron said she has received “so much support” on social media for her Facebook comments, which where were in response to Westfield resident Joel Bardach’s comments on a Robert Goodman Jewelers’ Facebook post, which called for businesses to “put aside profit” and “support candidates who support change” for gun legislation.
Traylor did not respond to a request for comment.