Both candidates for Franklin mayor say they don’t want to make big changes to the way the city runs, and instead want to make sure projects and opportunities continue to move forward.
Steve Barnett, a longtime city council member and interim mayor, and Janet Alexander, the former longtime clerk-treasurer, both want to focus on continuing road projects, redevelopment work and economic development opportunities.
Whoever is selected in a caucus of 22 Franklin Republican precinct committee members on Monday night will inherit millions of dollars worth of projects, including years of work planned along Jefferson and King streets, manage a more than $20 million budget and oversee 173 full-time city employees. The next mayor will serve the remainder of former Mayor Joe McGuinness’ term, which runs through the end of 2019, after McGuinness resigned to lead the Indiana Department of Transportation.
Both Barnett and Alexander cited ongoing infrastructure and road projects as key issues facing the city. The challenge will be to continue the momentum gained in recent years, they said.
Barnett, who has served on the city council for more than eight years and also on the city board of works for five years, said he is the best person for the job because he has been a part of the city’s projects from the beginning. He also has experience with reading blueprints and planning construction projects through his work for the last 30 years with Miller Pipeline, and before that his family’s business, he said. He plans to retire from Miller Pipeline and his long career in racing if he is named mayor, he said.
“I am informed totally and in detail. I know how to read blueprints. I have met with CrossRoad (Engineers) and the city engineer as projects were designed. I have raised questions, and helped make changes based on my experience with blueprints and working on projects,” Barnett said.
The projects will continue as planned because of the steps that already have been taken in terms of planning, design, bidding and contracts, Alexander said, emphasizing that through her experience in city government she can immediately get up to speed on the details of the infrastructure work going on in the city. She also would focus on making sure balanced commercial, industrial and housing development continued.
“Franklin is firing on all cylinders right now,” Alexander said. “We want to keep that going and capitalize on our successes and use our current momentum to keep drawing it more to us. There’s a lot of energy and I don’t want to see that dissipate, I want to see it advance.”
Barnett’s next step, if chosen as mayor, is to make sure all the projects already planned, such as along Jefferson and King streets, continue without any issues, while also looking ahead to what else is needed in the city, he said. On the list of possible projects: a rebuilt or new fire station 21, solutions to ease traffic congestion along U.S. 31 and make it more pedestrian friendly, both for people walking to businesses along the highway and for children walking and biking to and from school, and making Scott Park, where the city has baseball diamonds, easier to get in and out of and safe for the children who play there, he said.
He also wants to make sure the city continues working to attract high-paying jobs that pay more than the county average, and those companies should receive the best incentive packages, he said.
Alexander also would focus on recruiting jobs that pay higher than the average wage and are a good mix for the city and the skills of the workforce, and would reinforce relationships and communication with the local schools, Franklin College and Ivy Tech. She said her experience most often cited is her 16 years as clerk-treasurer, but her involvements in the community and city government, and her education, make her a qualified candidate to accomplish this type of work. For example, she worked as clerk-treasurer during the terms of four mayors, and learned from each of them, as well as through the work of other cities across Indiana.
“I can bring that experience, that knowledge to Franklin in the service of the community,” Alexander said.
Hometown: Raised in Franklin
Family: Mark, husband of nearly 30 years
Community involvements: board member of Interchurch Food Pantry of Johnson County, Franklin United Methodist Community and Johnson County Community Organizations Active in Disaster; member of the Johnson County Republican Women’s Club, Franklin Rotary, P.E.O. Sisterhood, Tri Kappa Zeta Chapter and St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church; Johnson County campaign coordinator for Holcomb for Governor; past president of Franklin Republican Women’s Club and Johnson County Extension Homemaker’s.
Name: Steve Barnett
Hometown: Raised in Franklin
Family: Wife Jeannie, two adult children.
Community involvements: Pipefitters Local 157, Elks Lodge 1818, Moose Lodge 17, Friendship Baptist Church, Leadership Johnson County Class of 2017, Franklin Rotary Club
Republican Party Caucus
Franklin’s Republican Party precinct committee members will conduct a caucus to select the city’s next mayor.
When: 7 p.m. Monday
Where: Franklin City Hall, 70 E. Monroe St.
The event is open to the public.
Find out who is selected as Franklin mayor by going to our website and social media pages on Monday night as the caucus is conducted.
We’ll bring you the latest news and photos, and a full story in Tuesday’s Daily Journal.