John Ditslear and Mike Corbett: Who they are and where they stand
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? A military officer or a rancher.
What were you like as a child? Very active in school, played football and was president of the Key club. I worked at Carn’s Sinclair service/gas station. I had many friends and was known as a “good boy.” I also was president of our local United Methodist Church’s Youth Fellowship, but I belonged to the Presbyterian Church. (The Methodist girls were prettier.)
What were your parents like and what lesson did they teach you that has stuck with you the most? My dad, Howard, was an agent for Nationwide Insurance. My mom, Kate, was a secretary for a men’s social fraternity, Alpha Sigma Phi. They were your typical hardworking, grounded in tradition, but fun-loving parents. My mom, in particular, was always very active volunteering in the community. They loved playing cards and socializing with friends. They taught me the value of hard work, honesty and integrity. They taught me to listen to people’s stories and how to be a good citizen.
What is your favorite childhood memory? Outdoor camping with the Boy Scouts. I made it to the rank of Life Scout.
What was your first job? I had two paper routes, I rode my bike and delivered about 160 papers for the Delaware Gazette and the Columbus Dispatch was under 100.
What was your first experience with politics/campaigning? I became a Republican Precinct committeeman when I first moved to Noblesville in 1966. Since then, I have been a campaign chairman for Judge Jerry Barr and Mayor Pat Logan and served on the Noblesville School Board for 11.5 years.
Why are you running for mayor? First, I love my job and I love Noblesville. I have had great success balancing growing Noblesville’s economic development while retaining our small town feel. It is important to increase our tax base by bringing business to create jobs. Just as important, preserving our heritage and improving our quality of life by not only maintaining our downtown, but also expanding it is crucial to our hometown feel. We have accomplished many wonderful things since I have been mayor. I have a great young, professional and creative team put in place to see through even greater things from our strategic plan. I want to see Noblesville moving in the right, forward direction.
If you could change one thing about the city what would it be and why? When I first became mayor, one of my goals was to get an institution of higher learning in Noblesville. We have just opened the Noblesville campus of Ivy Tech. Now, the challenge is to get the word out that every child has the opportunity to continue their education at a very affordable cost, if any. I would love to see more continuing education for adults and more dual credits courses offered to high school students. Many of our companies that have come to Noblesville could benefit from students with technical skills, such as, computers and robotics, which is now offered at Ivy Tech.
What is your vision of the city in 10 years? 1) Remain fiscally sound, keeping our S & P rating at AA. 2) Continue providing strong public safety. 3) Create more opportunities for people to live and work in the downtown with adequate parking. (yes, parking garages) 4) Continue the work to connect neighborhoods through trails and bike paths, including the completion of the Midland Trail. 5) Create more economic development investment in Noblesville, which in turn brings more jobs. 6) See through the completion of improvements of Ind. 37. 7) See through the completion of Federal Hill Commons which will be the west side gateway into downtown, highlighting the White River. Thriving business and urban housing will be part of the Federal Hill Commons. 8) Find and implement the solution to get people in and out of Noblesville more effectively.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? A professional pilot. In fact, I applied to the Air Force Academy when exploring college opportunities but was rejected because I wasn’t able to pass the eye exam without glasses.
What were you like as a child? I’m the oldest of six and the only boy, so if you ask my sisters I was treated exceptionally well. I always tried to be a reliable big brother and accepted responsibilities as they were offered. I enjoyed school, was an above average student and did lots of activities. I was a member of the National Honor Society, Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, ran cross country, played sax in the band and performed in theater productions. I was an altar boy at our church. As my dad was in the service, we moved a lot so I got used to making friends easily and always thought of myself as one who could help foster communication among different groups.
What were your parents like and what lesson did they teach you that has stuck with you the most? My parents met in the Air Force. My dad was a career military man and discipline was important to him. I remember the first time I dared to get a haircut longer than a crew cut. It didn’t go over well and he sent me back to the barber to get it cut shorter. My mom has always been a volunteer and impressed on me the importance of getting involved in the community and helping people who need it.
What is your favorite childhood memory? For my eighth birthday, my mother took me (on the el) to see “The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm” at a huge movie theater in downtown Chicago, followed by dinner at a restaurant. We did not eat at restaurants very often when I was a kid so it remains one of my favorite memories and movies.
What was your first job? I delivered newspapers at Ramey Air Force Base in Puerto Rico when I was in junior high school.
What was your first experience with politics/campaigning? I ran in the general election for mayor four years ago.
Why are you running for mayor? Noblesville has a lot of unrealized potential and I would like to see us reach it. We are very fortunate to be the county seat of a thriving county and I believe with the right leadership we could go from good to great. I think I would bring more initiative and vision to the office.
If you could change one thing about the city what would it be and why? The mayor. Winning that office would give me the opportunity to start realizing my vision and help Noblesville start reaching its potential.
What is your vision of the city in 10 years? In 10 years, our historic downtown will have expanded across the river and retail choices will be more plentiful. Second floor offices will be filled around the square and first floors will be mostly retail. We will have more residential opportunities downtown. We will have a parking garage, a rapid transit stop and a performing arts facility of some kind. The west side of the river around Federal Hill Park will be partially built out on an urban design, the river will be accessible and we will have a “Riverfront District.” Firestone will be nearly cleaned up and we will have a south side truck bypass. We will have a high-profile, connected trails system that functions as a genuine transportation alternative. The Midland Trace trail will be completed to Westfield. The corporate campus will be realizing its potential as new office buildings go up. The Ind. 32/Hazel Dell/Little Chicago area will develop as a village center. Ind. 37 will be upgraded to a limited access highway similar to Keystone Parkway. Noblesville will be back in the top 50 places to live in the US (we dropped off the list two years ago).
Meet John Ditslear
Age: An energetic, young 72
Family: Wife, Teri; sons, Jack and Clay; daughter, Nancy; stepchildren, Sarah, Jessica and Kyle; and eight grandchildren.
Birthplace: Columbus, Ohio
Favorite movie growing up? “Spartacus” starring Kirk Douglas
Favorite part of living in Noblesville? The people, the whole community is open, friendly and feels like one large family.
What is your favorite pizza topping? After the cheese it would be pepperoni
What was your first car? 1949 Blue Ford Coupe
Meet Mike Corbett
Family: Wife Joni, and children: Brenna, Alex, Ethan, Mike Jr. and Aaron.
Favorite movie growing up? “The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm”
Favorite part of living in Noblesville? The opportunity to get involved. Noblesville is still small enough that the average guy can step up and run for office through hard work and shoe leather.
What is your favorite pizza topping? Barbeque chicken
What was your first car? 1963 Mercury Comet