Sun: The Brain(ard) of Carmel has correct vision



On April 1, the Indianpolis Star‘s Matthew Tully hosted a mayoral debate between Carmel mayor Jim Brainard and City Council President Rick Sharp at the Carmel Clay Public Library ahead of the May 5 Republic primary. HiLite staff members Jason Klein, Angela Sun and Alex Yom were invited to ask questions to the candidates and take notes. 

Sun wrote the following column on the incumbent Brainard.

On a Wednesday evening in early April, I was given the honor to ask a question in the mayoral debate between current Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard and his challenger, City Council President Rick Sharp, that was held at the Carmel Clay Public Library at 7 p.m. If I’m going to be honest, I wasn’t very excited to go since I would only participate for about five minutes in the entire debate; however, due to the dynamic of both sides in the debate, and Brainard taking control of most questions, it made the event very intriguing.

Photo Essay: Carmel mayoral debate

For Brainard, this is his sixth time running for office since his first term in 1995; he wants to continue his vision to redevelop the city by finishing City Center, starting Midtown, and continuing the trend to allow Carmel citizens to have the lowest tax rates in the state of Indiana. While Sharp, who has worked with the Carmel City Council since 2003, kept on poking at the amount of public debt that Carmel is in right now, Brainard pushed for a vision to improve the city. Brainard set the law straight to Sharp by pointing out “My opponent is clearly mistaken about the amount of debt Carmel is in right now.”

Klein: Though not ready for mayoral position, Sharp’s ideas deserve a look

Also, Brainard is much blunter than Sharp: Sharp gave the audience an autobiography about himself by describing his life and connection to Carmel, while Brainard got to the point about what he wants for Carmel and how he is going to achieve his vision. By getting to the point right away, Brainard seemed much more aggressive than Sharp was in the debate. After being attacked by Sharp about his fiscal policy in overdrawing for the building of the Palladium, Brainard battle back with hardcore evidence. He brought out a cardboard platform that showed that a house whose mortgage went from $28,000 in 1998 to $17,000 today; even though most areas around the country have mortgage increases overtime due to inflation, Carmel is one of the few places where the contrary is true. Without explicitly saying it, Brainard proved to Sharp that his fiscal policy has produced huge gains.

Finally, Brainard stuck one final point when questioned on recent events. An audience member asked both candidates to comment on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. While both sides argued against it, Brainard made the stronger stance over Sharp. “Treat people how you want to be treated, that’s what I learned at a young age.” Brainard didn’t have to state his stance explicitly, but by making a social issue very personal, he drew the audience towards him. Brainard’s name suits him well; after 20 years in office and possibly 4 more, he is truly the brain of Carmel that would be hard to remove.