A new vision: Stehr refines plans to become Zionsville’s next mayor


Republican John Stehr is unopposed in the Nov. 7 general election and is set to become the Town of Zionsville’s next mayor in January, succeeding Democrat incumbent Emily Styron, who is not seeking reelection.

Stehr has been preparing since winning the May 2 primary.

A retired television broadcast journalist, Stehr said his top three initiatives are:

  • Lowering the political temperature Zionsville.
  • Rebuilding the southern entrance of the town.
  • Building a community recreation center fit for people of all ages.

The initiatives, Stehr said, will help improve the quality of life in Zionsville and the relationship between residents and city officials.

Stehr said political tensions in Zionsville have created the most problems, resulting in low morale among town staff.

“I plan to, and I vow to, meet with every town employee in the first month that I am in office, just to make sure that we are on the same page, we are all working together and they understand how important they are to the functioning of the town,” Stehr said.

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John Stehr, who is set to become Zionsville’s next mayor, with his dog, Johnny Cash. (File photo)

Stehr said lowering the political temperature and building a sense of community in Zionsville are priorities.

Stehr also said rebuilding the city’s southern entrance to enhance the Village Business District is a priority.

“The town’s southern entrance is the heart and soul of Zionsville,” Stehr said. “We need to ensure that we are protecting and promoting that as best we can.”

Another way Stehr, who is president of the Zionsville Board of Parks and Recreation, wants to improve the town is by building a community recreation center.

“(The recreation center) is going to bring together all of our generations, from the babies to senior citizens and everybody in between,” Stehr said. “It is important to maintain the community feeling that everybody who lives here loves and values so much.”

Stehr said his main goal is to make Zionsville better than it already is. He plans to accomplish the objective by establishing better communication with the public and with town officials.

“Communication has really broken down in Zionsville the last few years. I do not know that anybody would argue with that,” Stehr said. “In journalism, we always had the maxim that you tell people what you are going to tell them. Tell them. Then, tell them again. I think that level of communication has been missing, so that will be a big push of mine — to be open, transparent and really be communicative about the things that I would like to accomplish.”

Stehr said the hardest part about the planning process for taking office has been realizing, “I don’t know what I don’t know.” But he said he is prepared for all challenges.

“I do know this. In any local government, our No. 1 responsibility is public safety,” Stehr said. “We need to make sure we take care of our police department and our fire department.”

Stehr also wants to ensure the protection of residents’ finances and make sure daily operations and public services, like trash collection and keeping streets plowed, run smoothly and uninterrupted.

“With every decision we make, we have to be thinking down the road of how it is going to affect the next generation that is going to call Zionsville home,” Stehr said. “I have been here for almost 30 years now. All of my five children were raised here. I do think this is the best town in Indiana. I think it is one of the best towns in the country, so that is a pretty good starting point for me. If we can make the town better, make people feel more comfortable and make our government more productive — boy, what a blessing that would be for everybody.”

For more about Stehr and his campaign, visit youarecurrent.com and search ‘Stehr.’