Writer / Neal G. Moore

In mid-November Steve Collier, 5th District City Councilor, held an event at Monarch Beverage Company to announce his candidacy for the Republican nomination for mayor of Lawrence. Collier, who retired after teaching 33 years at Lawrence North, grew up in what he calls historic Lawrence. Collier told the small audience the city has amazing potential, and that he is prepared to move Lawrence forward. Following his announcement Lawrence Community Newsletter talked with Collier about his decision to seek the mayor’s office.

Q: Why do you want to be mayor of Lawrence?

A: First, I don’t need the job. I’m a retired teacher—this wasn’t in my life plan four years ago. I honestly think that’s a big advantage for me. I don’t need the job, but I have so much interest in public service. When I became a councilor I started seeing how we were doing things, and I thought there’s got to be better ways to make sure we are serving the needs of the people, and not serving those who work for the government. We have reduced revenues because of property tax caps. They are reduced for a very specific reason—to make government smaller. There’s got to be a way in which we can make government more efficient and learn how to best use the money so that it helps our citizens.

Q: What are the city’s best assets?

A: Ft. Harrison State Park and the golf course. Our parks system in the city of Lawrence. These should be attractions so that people will want to come here. We’ve got Ft. Harrison Village that is just in its infancy of growing itself into a destination. We’ve got the Sterrett Center, the band building that could be used to bring plays and concerts there. Monarch Beverage. Poindexter Excavating. We made the decision a long time ago to move the city’s center from off Franklin Road to Ft. Harrison, but hardly anybody from that Franklin Rd area ever comes to Ft Harrison. So, we’ve got to develop reasons for them to come and to stay. And I have quite a few ideas on how to make that happen. There are too may resources for this city not to continue to grow and progress.

Q: What are Lawrence’s biggest challenges?

A: Our public safety personnel have been asked to work for no raises for eight years now. That doesn’t happen in any other company or business. We have the best police department in central Indiana in terms of efficiency and getting out there and getting the job done. We’ve got the best firemen you could possibly think of. For the last three years they’ve been working 300 hours more a year than any fire department around us. Do the math—how much more time is that away from your family? I’ll tell you right now, we need to pay our public safety more. We need to put more officers on the street. We need to do a lot of things with public safety—things that we can do if we spend our money wisely. Another thing is attracting and keeping quality business, and attracting and keeping quality people. We want the city of Lawrence to become a destination, not a drive through.

Q: What kind of campaign do you anticipate running?

A: My campaign is going to be about what I want to do for the city and where we can get better. I don’t want us to view ourselves as the ugly step-sister of Carmel and Fishers, Zionsville and so on. Lawrence used to be a place where people wanted to live. That wasn’t that long ago, and we’ve kind of lost that.

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