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Priorities Differ for New Council Members

Steve Burger

Now that the 2019 election is over, attention turns to how the winners of the various races will govern.

First of all, after months of hard work, winning is better than losing an election.

But not every winner in the 2019 Evansville city election showed up to celebrate with their party faithful. Several Democrats in particular were not in attendance Tuesday evening.

But from the five winners we were able to talk to, we got four answers as to their top priorities and the challenges they’ll face achieving those priorities in the new term.  Zac Heronemus, Democrat winner in the third ward, said.

“ I think we have a lot of opportunity in the third ward, with Jacobsville, and in the fourth ward, to develop smartly, strategically and sensitively for the residents that are down there.”

Alex Burton, Democrat winner in the fourth ward, said,

“Reducing poverty, while at the same time increasing housing for all of our residents.  I guess that can be summed up in E is for everyone.”

Ron Beane, Republican winner of an at large seat on the council, said,

Credit Steve Burger / WNIN
Newly-elected city council member Ron Beane (center, in back) takes a photo with family members from the stage at the Republican watch party.

“I don’t have a pet project other than to streamline the building codes and zoning issues so that things can move a little smoother and quicker.”

What does Beane see as the major challenge to that?

“Any time you want to change an ordinance that governs land use or building, a lot of people have different opinions. And so, once you open that can of worms there’s a lot of input and it can become unmanageable very quickly.”

Burton, Beane and Heronemus are all newcomers to Evansville city council. It’s insightful then, that the two winners in Tuesday’s city election who have the same priority are both incumbents, Mayor Lloyd Winnecke and fifth ward Republican Justin Elpers.

Winnecke said, “ I think the single biggest priority is getting to know a new council make-up and developing the same level of working relationship with them as we have the last two councils, so that we can continue to govern in this inclusive, accountable style.”

Elpers agrees that collaboration with new council members is a top priority, but admits it will be a challenge.

“You know there’s probably gonna’ be some different personalities on there, but I’m going to lead professionally, I’m going to lead with class and put my best foot forward and stick to my principles. That’s what I was going to do four years ago and that’s what I’ll do for the next four years.”

Five winners, four different priorities. The best guess on success for this new council is…we’ll see.  

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