QA: Get to know the candidates for Carmel mayor


Hamilton County Councilor Fred Glynn is challenging incumbent Jim Brainard for Carmel mayor in the May 7 Republican primary. They answered the following questions from Current:

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Name:  Fred Glynn

Age: 43

Family: My wife, Beth, and I have been married for 16 years, and we have 13-year-old daughter. We also have a dog named Bailey

Years in Carmel: 17

Education: Bachelor’s degree in aviation business from Embry-Riddle

Day job: I am a loan officer helping individuals and families achieve their dreams of homeownership.


Why do you want to run for office?

The people of Carmel deserve a mayor that will lead with integrity. After 24 years it is time for a change. I can provide fresh leadership for our city’s next chapter.

What issues will your campaign focus on? 

I will eliminate the “pay-to-play” politics that has engulfed our city over the last decade. I will not serve vendor and developer interests but the citizens in all corners of this city. Our debt has been downgraded and the payments keep rising. It is time to have a new and more organic outlook when it comes to growth. I will also be a tireless advocate for our small businesses because they are the lifeblood of our community and deserve better than to be steamrolled by the current administration.

What are your qualifications for this office?

I have started, built, and sold two successful businesses. I am educated in business and have years of experience in banking and finance. I am currently on the Hamilton County Council and am a past president. I have a history of bringing people together, providing leadership and finding effective solutions. My professional experience as well as public service experience provide me with the necessary skills and attributes that are needed to be our next mayor.

What sets you apart from other candidates for this office?

After 24 years of the same, stale leadership in city hall, Carmel deserves someone that can and is willing to provide fresh thinking built on a foundation or integrity. I firmly believe that our elected leaders should be held to the same standards as everyone else. Period. I also believe that elected officials should keep their promises. Twenty-four years ago, Jim Brainard ran on a contract with Carmel where he promised to never take a pay raise as mayor, never take possession of a city car and reign in out of control wasteful spending. It is extremely apparent that he has voided that contract by not keeping those key promises. As a county councilman, I have kept every promise I have made, and I will do the same as our next mayor. Here is the first one: I promise to serve no more than three terms as mayor because I believe that 12 years in office is plenty and 24 years is way too long.

What is your favorite aspect of living in Carmel?

I really like the people of Carmel. We have a city with a lot of very kind and down to earth people. Carmel isn’t about any one politician but more about the great people that call this city home.

What is an area where Carmel can improve?

We need to look at why so many empty store fronts are starting to appear outside of the city center. We need to return some focus back to our neighborhoods. We need to provide a voice to all the local small businesses that provide a unique identity in our community and not just serve the ones in the mayor’s preferred areas. This election marks a turning point in our community. Are we going to be a community for everyone or just the ones chosen by government? Are we a place welcoming to unique small businesses or are we going to just concentrate on luring large business with tax abatements? Are we a low-tax community or are we going let our taxes rise exponentially because of excessive debt? I can improve on all of these areas as the next mayor of Carmel and also preserve our sense of identity and community.

Mayor Jim Brainard

Name: Jim Brainard

Age: 64

Family: Father of two sons and two daughters and grandfather of one

Years in Carmel: 31

Education: BA from Butler University, JD from Ohio Northern University, diploma from Oxford Institute on International and Comparative Law, University of San Diego

Day job: Mayor of the City of Carmel


Why do you want to run for office?

We have accomplished many things in Carmel, but the job is not done. We have targeted our energy on building a high quality of life with safe neighborhoods, excellent schools, a park system that is one of the best in the nation and nearly 200 miles of trails, paths and walkways that provide a network of opportunity for our residents to come together in community in a variety of ways. Our City has grown, not just in population, but in the number of jobs available, corporate headquarters, major employers and small businesses. Carmel is consistently ranked among the best places to live in the United States and that is an important achievement that helps us compete with other edge cities across the nation for jobs and for a highly educated workforce comprised of a new generation of professionals who have choices on where to live and where to raise families. We would prefer they choose Carmel and this is what we are always focused on.

What issues will your campaign focus on?

Fiscal responsibility – We are focused on keeping our city budget balanced and our tax rates among the lowest in Indiana. Carmel’s District Tax Rate is the 5th lowest among 118 cities. We make wise investments in our City’s infrastructure in order to continue to attract more private investment, corporate headquarters and good-paying jobs. We also maintain a reasonable amount of debt when measured against our revenue. Carmel Utilities’ rates are the lowest in Hamilton County.

Redevelopment –  continuing to redevelop our central core through public private partnerships with large and small businesses that help keep our tax rates low by providing revenue and neighborhood amenities. This also breathes new life into a part of our city that had been struggling for years. A city succeeds when it can build in a sustainable way, emphasizing mixed uses, slightly higher densities than a traditional sprawling suburb and a safe transportation network for a variety of ways – from cars to bikes to pedestrians.

Small business success – laying the groundwork and building the infrastructure necessary to attract more employers and more good-paying jobs so that our small businesses can continue to thrive in a City with a constant influx of new residents, visitors and tourists who are eager to shop, dine and spend money in our local restaurants and shops, which continue to open and thrive throughout the city.

Public safety – choosing the right leaders and making sure our law enforcement and emergency responders continue to have the tools and personnel they need to keep Carmel one of the safest cities in America, an honor we have received over and over again thanks to our proactive policing and low crime statistics. Our police and fire departments are both accredited and maintain the highest level of training and professionalism. Our road officers recently began using new body cameras, which will help better protect our community through greater transparency. Police vehicles are being replaced with Ford Hybrid Interceptors, which will save the city money and be better for the environment. We also place four firefighters on our engines in order to provide the best protection for our community.

Quality of life – We will continue to focus on a strategy of building amenities and creating great events that continue to make Carmel one of the Best Places to Live, to work, to start a new company, to raise a family and to retire in America. We know that our high quality of life has helped Carmel attract more than 125 corporate headquarters and many more companies that provide good, high-paying jobs that keep both the young and old coming to Carmel to live, work and build their future.

What are your qualifications for this office?

I have learned valuable lessons during my time in office and created strong partnerships with some of the best leaders, developers and businesses anywhere. I have been able to inspire others to think boldly and create projects unlike they had previously done to create a city with architectural integrity, a strong sense of community and a healthy lifestyle. The result has been establishing Carmel, Indiana as one of the best cities anywhere to live.

Mayor, City of Carmel, Indiana, 1996 – present

Attorney, 1982 – 1995  (Inactive status, 1996-present)

Adjunct Instructor, Department of Business, University of Indianapolis, 1984 – 1991

What sets you apart from other candidates for this office?

The combination of creativity, a very strong will and ability to pull together a dedicated team focused on a singular purpose and bring those ideas into reality is a rare and powerful combination. The skills I have that make be a more qualified candidate to take Carmel to the next level are my ability to take a long-range view of the city and create unique and challenging projects and opportunities that make Carmel stand out from other cities and allows us to excel now and sustain our success for the next generation. I challenged my team and those we worked with to create a city unlike any other car suburb. The innovative style of our projects inspired by some of the greatest architecture in the world, use of roundabouts in our roadway network and creation of a walkable central core are ideas that were rare. Now, other cities visit Carmel to find out how to emulate some of the projects we have created.

What is your favorite aspect of living in Carmel?

My favorite part of living in Carmel is being able to interact with the people in our community. Our residents come from all corners of the globe and bring new ideas, cultures and such energy and enthusiasm to Carmel. They inspire me to provide the best city anywhere in which to live. My neighbors and those I see throughout my day always convey a spirit of warmth, caring and concern. We live in a fast-growing city, but it’s nice to know that in many ways we are still a close-knit community.

What is an area where Carmel can improve?

We need to work with the residents and businesses in the newly incorporated Home Place area to bring their streets, sidewalks, paths, storm sewers, drainage and other services on par with the rest of the city and create some projects that will provide a downtown that is walkable, safe and has green spaces where people with different backgrounds can come together in public spaces.

Something most people don’t know about you?

My father was a public school music teacher and my mother was a piano teacher in Bristol, near Elkhart, Indiana. I still play the French Horn and piano.

Something you want people to know about you?

I have a policy of answering every letter, phone call or e-mail that is sent to me at City Hall. My inbox is open to everyone … [email protected] … and I welcome all comments and opinions.

What other organizations are you involved with?

  • First & Main, Nonpartisan Coalition of Local Elected Leaders, Member, 2018 – present
  • Indiana University Kokomo, Hamilton County Advisory Board, 2015 – present
  • International Making Cities Livable, Advisory Board, 2013 – present
  • White House Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience, 2013 – 2015
  • Smart Growth America, Local Leaders Council, Advisory Board, 2011 – present
  • U.S. Conference of Mayors, Trustee, 2010 – present
  • U.S. Conference of Mayors, Standing Committee for Transportation and Communications, 2010 – present
  • U.S. Conference of Mayors, Standing Committee for Tourism, Arts, Parks, Entertainment, and Sports, 2010 – present
  • U.S. Conference of Mayors, Task Force on Energy Independence & Climate Protection, Co-chair, 2005 – present
  • Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis, Board of Advisors, 2005 – present
  • U.S. Conference of Mayors, Executive Committee, 2010 – present
  • Center for the Performing Arts, Founding Board 2005 – 2011
  • U.S. Conference of Mayors, Standing Committee for Community Development and Housing, Vice Chair, 2005
  • U.S. Conference of Mayors, Advisory Board, 2002 – 2010
  • Indiana Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission, 2002
  • U.S. Conference of Mayor, Council for Investment in the New American City, 2001
  • U.S. Conference of Mayors, Presidential Transition Team, 2000
  • U.S. Conference of Mayors, Urban Economic Committee, 2000
  • Indiana Association of Cities and Towns, Legislative Committee, 2000
  • Carmel Rotary, 1999 – present
  • Butler University, Board of Trustees, 1990 – 1992
  • Butler University Alumni Board, President, 1990 – 1991
  • Butler University Alumni Board, 1988 – 1991