Shackleford announces candidacy for Indy mayor, setting up potential primary contest with incumbent Hogsett

Looking to the future after being reelected to the Indiana General Assembly on Tuesday, Rep. Robin Shackleford (above) on Thursday launched a new campaign — to be the first female and the first Black mayor of Indianapolis.

Her announcement sets the stage for a potential Democratic primary election contest between Shackleford and incumbent Mayor Joe Hogsett—who has yet to officially announce if he’s seeking a third term.

On Thursday, Shackleford made the announcement to a group of some 30 supporters and the press at the Madam Walker Legacy Center in downtown Indianapolis—a spot she chose because Walker symbolizes the hope she has for the city. The crowd gathered around her raising “Robin Shackleford for Mayor” signs above their heads, cheering as she spoke.

The theme of her announcement was, “We can do better.” In her speech, she talked about bridging the “two cities” of Indianapolis and putting a stop to crime in the community.

“We simply cannot have a prosperous Indianapolis unless it is uniformly safe,” she said. “I commit to providing effective solutions and prioritizing the safety of Indianapolis and its residents in all neighborhoods.”

Shackleford broached her plans for how she would tackle issues like crime, poverty, transportation, housing and health care in the city.

“Tomorrow must be equitable for all,” she said. “We can harness the boundless potential of all the incredible people of our city to turn challenges into opportunities, just like Madam Walker did. These are not easy problems to tackle, but we can elevate our city to new heights.”

Shackleford, the chair of the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus, has represented the Indianapolis Eastside at the Statehouse for a decade and ran uncontested Tuesday in her race for reelection in House District 98. Her experience in city government comes from working for former Mayor Bart Peterson as diversity affairs director and in project management.

Sydney Byerly is a reporter at TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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