Column: Carmel mayor endorses Rider as successor


Commentary by Mayor Jim Brainard

When I announced not to seek reelection as your mayor, it was my intention to not become involved in the Republican primary election. Carmel voters are aware of the guiding principles and ideas that have helped our city achieve success and will elect the right person to lead our city into the future. Based on statements, however, by the candidates and many requests from voters as well as the importance of choosing the right mayor, I have decided at this time I will make a public endorsement.

I am endorsing Kevin “Woody” Rider in his campaign for mayor in the upcoming Republican primary election. The reasons are based on statements made by the candidates in the current campaign and the importance of protecting our city’s future that so many in my administration and the community have worked so hard for.

I am very proud of our accomplishments during my seven terms. Serving the residents of this city has been one of the greatest honors of my life.

The upcoming Republican primary election could dramatically change the direction of our city and reverse the progress we have made as a community. This is not an option I believe Carmel voters want. As chief executive of Carmel, the next mayor will be responsible for hundreds of city employees and an annual budget approaching $200 million. It is a serious and important position that needs to be done by a competent and experienced leader.

There is one candidate running for mayor that has demonstrated a long-term commitment of service as a leader on our city council. When the city needed leadership on the planning commission and redevelopment commission, Kevin Rider stepped up and gave years of service, essentially as a volunteer, on those commissions. He has given hours and days of service, learning the laws and regulations that have allowed our city to grow to the example we enjoy today. Kevin Rider has proven his commitment to Carmel and earned my trust and vote.

Kevin “Woody” Rider has proven his abilities as a small business owner operating two restaurants and employing over a hundred workers. This is not an easy role, especially in a time of pandemic and economic challenges. When the city asked for his help, he did not say, “I am too busy” or “I don’t have enough time available.” Instead, he dove into key positions on the planning commission and the redevelopment commission. These commissions are two key partners with the mayor in ensuring the quality of life that our city enjoys today. It is because of this leadership that Carmel has been able to maintain the lowest property tax rate of any city of our size or larger in Indiana.

I have also appreciated Woody’s support and leadership on the city council as we supported a well-respected and strong public safety team, a commitment to environmental responsibility and reliable and fiscally solid public utilities. I especially recognize that Kevin was willing to approach each challenge with an open mind, even when we didn’t agree on the solution. Kevin would, however, listen, learn and work to achieve a result that respected the citizens and protect the direction of our city.

Kevin ”Woody” Rider has earned my friendship and respect. He has used his personal resources to feed and support our senior citizens, first line workers and those less privileged for years. He has worked hard to learn how our local government works and succeeds. He has managed successful small businesses for decades. He has earned my trust and vote. I encourage you to join me in supporting Woody on May 2.   

Jim Brainard has been mayor of Carmel since 1996.