2019 Election_WEB.jpg

BOB GENTRY

What office are you seeking and why?

I am running for Union City Council at Large. The last several years have seen real progress in improving the quality of life for All citizens of our community and I want to help maintain and even quicken that progress. My campaign is about making our downtown a vibrant welcoming spot, improving our housing for all, including renters, home owners and home buyers and continuing the improvements in our great park system. I believe the best way to accomplish these things is through joint co-operative effort by local government, non-profit organizations, the business community, local religious organizations, the schools and citizen volunteers. My experience in government tells me that no one person or one group can work as effectively as people coming together with a shared goal and a shared determination to accomplish that goal.

What is your personal/professional/governmental experience, and how does that make you the most-qualified candidate?

I moved to Union City 27 years ago. The Indy Star referred to UC as a prime example of small town rust belt decay. However, there were citizens and organizations who were determined to change that situation. I joined those folks and began volunteering with nonprofits  and local government. Having served as a night clerk with the FBI while going to college, an investigator with US Army Intelligence and US Civil Service Investigations Div. I wound up at the National Labor Relations Board where I retired as a GS 15 Executive. That government training and experience, investigating, analyzing, researching the law, writing recommendations and holding hearings gave me a good background to make a contribution to our community progress. I served four years on the city Board of Works and for the past 12 years have served on the Union City Redevelopment Commission. I have attended city council meetings and board of works meetings on a regular basis and have supported or respectfully disagreed with government decisions after ascertaining the facts of the matter at hand. I have written grant requests, applications for 501(c)(3) status and drafted the city`s first five year Park Plan.

What is one issue you would like to address if elected? How would you address it?

I don’t have one issue, I have three and I believe they must be addressed simultaneously. We must rejuvenate our downtown area by pursuing grants from the state and federal government, investing our tax dollar in infrastructure, façade improvement and by encouraging our existing businesses. Many projects are under way or being planned and we must see that those projects succeed. To bring in new business we must prove that our existing businesses can succeed. Our stock of housing is quite old and we must use new laws, grant money and tax dollars in order to bring existing housing up to code, help those who live in their own homes but lack funding to remodel or repair, encourage home owners to update, remodel and improve existing homes by using recently passed tax abatement rules and where possible provide low interest loans. Finally we must get rid ourselves of uninhabitable and abandoned houses by condemnation and demolition. Our parks are great but we need to expand the facilities of Artisan Crossing and install new and safe play equipment at Harter Park. Our parks must be welcoming to people of all ages. 

If you had $500,000 in grant money and could spend it on whatever you think would improve your city, what would you do?

If given $500,000 to use as I see fit I would first call for public meetings to solicit ideas from the public. My first thought are to use $150,000 as set aside money for matching funds for various grants; spend $100,000 on park needs and equipment/training for Emergency Service personnel  and put $250,000 in a fund to be used for low interest loans to home owners living in their own homes. Such loans would be for remodeling and renovation. I recognize that, in all likelihood, there would be citizen ideas which might be more attractive than my own and would be ready to compromise.


CHAD SPENCE 

What office are you seeking and why?

I am running for mayor of Union City, Indiana. I am running for this position because I believe God has put it on my heart to serve my community to the fullest capacity possible.

What is your personal/professional/government experience, how does that make you most- qualified candidate?

I have served on the city council for twelve years, and various boards ranging from Wesley United Methodist Church Council president to Community Christmas Secretary to Midwest TV board president to Preservation  Society. I have also occupied multiple levels of management in my work career, overseeing managers and personal in healthcare throughout Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Beyond my current representation duties, I served as a regional trainer for approximately 60 representatives throughout Indiana and Michigan. While I will always have room to learn and grow, I believe these experiences up to this point in time will assist me in serving my community in strong measure.

What is one issue you would like to address if elected? How would you address it?

My objective is actually two-fold: housing and the downtown. With housing, I am seeking to rehabilitate suitable structures, and demo homes beyond repair. We will seek home-owner occupancy for rejuvenated homes with a heightened focus on military personnel (both former and current), teachers, and first responders. While certainly no person capable of home ownership would be turned away, I believe it is the right thing to do in seeking to serve those who serve others. Their example can be a powerful one for any community. For the downtown, I have constructed a business plan that will help restore structures and seek businesses for each open location. In fact, I have already been working on this endeavor, and we are slated for a couple new businesses to open in the spring.

If you had $500,000 in grant money and could spend it on whatever you think would improve your city, what would you do?

I would put the money toward our housing initiative, with it ideally perpetually sustaining itself. For example, a home purchased for $20k, with $30 to $40k in renovations, sold for $50k to $60k, and then take the recouped funds and repeat. Optimally, we would start in focused areas to generate the biggest impact, such as the neighborhood surrounding the school and the main corridors (State Route 28 and State Route 32 into town), and then branch off from there. This endeavor not only enhances the aesthetics of our community, but can also strengthen investor confidence and spur future investment.


JOHN HOLMES

What office are you seeking and why?

My name is John Holmes and I am running for the Union City City Council District 3 seat. My goal, as a lifetime resident of our town is to help make positive changes, improve honest relationships in our community and bring Union City back to a place people are honored to call their home. I am a citizen, not a politician.

What is your personal/professional/governmental experience, and how does that make you the most-qualified candidate?

This is my hometown. I was raised here and I raised my 4 children here. I attended school at UCCHS and bought a house here. I have worked for the city under three mayors and have always been proud to call this town my home. When given an opportunity to be a part of the City Council, I immediately said yes.

What is one issue you would like to address if elected? How would you address it?

I would like complete transparency in regards to spending in our city and by the city officials. There should never be a distrust or concerns by our citizens in regards to how their tax monies are being spent and there needs to be no reason for people outside our community to question honesty and intentions of our city officials.

If you had $500,000 in grant money and could spend it on whatever you think would improve your city, what would you do?

My platform is based on improving Union City and helping it grow. Some of my ideas would be helping property owners to improve their homes, streets in our town, park and cemetery are in disrepair and need permanent fixing such as paving instead of cheap temporary fixes, beautification of our city such as exteriors of businesses, tax abatements to draw new businesses into our community instead of tearing down buildings, use monies to help fix them up and repurpose. Examples would be using the old police station and making it an information center and public restroom for the uptown festivals and concerts, fixing up the Railroad Hotel, rich with history, and turning it into either housing or a business that can bring revenue to our town. Sidewalks are in such disrepair that young mothers, children walking to school and our elderly walk in the street. These need our attention. I am a true believer in keeping our grant monies in our town to improve our businesses, our education programs and our resident’s lives. We need to spread the finances between all business owners and make our town a great place to live again.


LINDA WILCOX

What office are you seeking and why?

I am seeking re-election to the office of City Court Judge Union City. I believe that I have made a positive impact on the City Court over the nearly eight years and would like to continue to work on several projects that I have not yet seen to fruition.

What is your personal/professional/government experience and how does that make you the most qualified candidate?

Prior to election as the City Court Judge in November 2011, I served as a Court Administrator in an extremely large judicial arena for 27 years. I have worked with citizens, focus groups, county and state legislators, judges and attorney, and non-profit and business organizations. I have a clear understanding of the role and responsibilities of the judiciary and look forward to serving the citizens of Union City for an additional 4 years.

What is one issue you would like to address if elected? How would you address it?

I would like to continue to utilize technology to assist the litigant of the City Court. In my first term, with the help of the Indiana State Court Administration, I brought the Odyssey system to the Court. This provided a uniform system of record-keeping and a safe and secure platform for case management at no cost to Union City. I would now like to add gov-pay to this system, which would afford the litigants the opportunity to pay fines with a secure credit and debit card arrangement. This system would also be at no cost to Union City. I would also like to explore alternative means for litigants to pay fines through community service.

If you had $500,000 in grant money and could spend it on whatever you think would improve your city, what would you do?

I would divide the grant into 5 amounts of $100,000 each and solicit business plans from start-up companies to establish their respective businesses in Union City with the understanding that, if they maintained their business within profitable margins for a period of 5 years, repayment of the grant funds would be forgiven.


NATHAN CONKLIN

What office are you seeking and why?

I am seeking a seat on the City Council for Union City, Indiana. If successful, I will be representing District 3. My goal is to help improve the quality of life for citizens in Union City. I believe that a warm and welcoming community is key. We can do this by focusing on community involvement, small business development, and overall community safety.

What is your personal/professional/governmental experience, and how does that make you the most-qualified candidate?

I believe I am the most qualified for this position because I grew up right here in District 3. I genuinely love this community. I left Union City to attend Butler University. While there I studied Marketing and Small Business in hope of one day using this knowledge to improve the quality of life for my family and other members of my community. While in college I was a part of student body government and other fraternal organizations. I was responsible for organizing fundraisers and other social events. I became skilled at making big things happen with a small budget. Now the father of a newborn, I am once again honing these skills. After college, I was part of multiple different companies where I became a leader in my field. My knowledge and experience became valuable tools. I was asked to be on several committees where I was able to make a difference for my peers. This led to leadership opportunities in other areas where I learned to listen to different perspectives, value the opinions of others, and use these skills to create ideas that benefit the common good.  I believe these experiences will translate perfectly into our city of government.

What is one issue you would like to address if elected? How would you address it?

If elected, I feel that community involvement should be our top priority. By creating a sense of pride within our community we will be able to tackle other issues such as; housing, safety, and the availability of jobs. I would like to put a community improvement plan into place by opening lines of communication to residents, by encouraging new homes to be built and by preserving the historic homes throughout the community.

If you had $500,000 in grant money and could spend it on whatever you think would improve your city, what would you do?

I would get rid of some of the unoccupied houses around our community. I would then create a public/private partnership with some of our local tradesmen to improve the home that just need a little TLC. With my knowledge of home renovation loans, I can provide valuable insight into ways property owners can add value to their existing home and make it a safe place for their family.


TITO FARIAS

What office are you seeking and why?

I am running for Union City Council At-Large. Union City is where I grew up, where my parents and my children live, where people know my name, and where I received education, encouragement, coaching and cheering from wonderful teachers, merchants, professionals, workers, leaders, clergy and other caring, engaged, God-fearing citizens. With a BA in political science from Indiana University and an MS in Foreign Service from Georgetown University, I worked in International Development for over 20 years designing and directing projects, providing grants, and training elected, appointed and traditional leaders on how to develop their communities, civic organizations and democratic governance. These are all things which would provide a new energy in Union City that just might attract the investment, jobs and prosperity that we all want to see. Because I wanted more stability for my family and a new career as an entrepreneur, I moved back to Union City in January 2016. When someone suggested I run for City Council, something came alive inside me. I am very excited for this opportunity to give back and bless this community.

What is your personal/professional/governmental experience, and how does that make you the most-qualified candidate?

I have worked in the US public service, domestically and overseas. I worked in the Budget Execution Branch of the US Department of Education and I am skilled in budget analysis, formulation, execution and tracking. By writing grant proposals, I successfully mobilized over $2.8 million in US Government grants for the community development and citizen participation projects in Africa. I have successfully managed multi-partner, multi-sector programs with budgets of up to $20 million of public funding, ensuring funding and training to civil society organizations undertaking advocacy campaigns, lobbying, partnering with private sector, and engaging with government to enhance its responsiveness to citizen concerns. Through audits, accounting procedures and due diligence, I ensured compliance with US Government regulations on my projects as well as on those of our grantees. My experience is about providing high-quality services, listening to the served (citizens), leveraging partnerships, cutting excess costs, and managing resources transparently: government responsiveness, accountability and citizen satisfaction. This is what makes me the most qualified candidate.

What is one issue you would like to address if elected? How would you address it?

I would seek to enhance citizen voice in the decision-making. In talking to people, I sometimes hear worrying rumors and speculation, some satisfaction with community achievements for sure, but lots of questioning spending decisions, and even anger and frustration. The best way to solve this is by giving citizens more information and input by 1.) scheduling meetings of the Board of Public Works at a time of day when workers/professionals can participate; 2.) allowing more debate on topics at City Council meetings-so citizens can see if their elected officials are representing their concerns; 3.) consulting/reaching out to those most affected by proposed ordinances and taking their concerns into consideration; 4.) having district-level city council members be elected only by citizens of their district; 5.) organizing town hall meetings and ensuring city council members consult their respective districts on key topics that affect them; 6.) organizing audits of public spending; and 7.) having a one-stop-shop city website where people can provide input into ordinances under consideration and find out how to solve various problems (utilities, police, regulations, etc.)

If you had $500,000 in grant money and could spend it on whatever you think would improve your city, what would you do?

Organize training and finance for young entrepreneurs and a grant fund for non-profit initiatives-open to Union City Indiana and Ohio. 1.) Invite young people to a training on entrepreneurship skills and how to develop business plans to qualify for commercial loans from local banks. Invite non-profits, universities and businesses to design a proposal/bid for entrepreneurship training and ongoing coaching and mentoring to young business owners until they repay their loans. The finance would be a revolving fund that local banks could use to fund business plans for young entrepreneurs with collateral. 2.) The grant fund would fund initiatives that could include projects such as home renovation/beautification for the poor/elderly, drug rehabilitation, or educational initiatives about personal finances and entrepreneurship. Projects must involve some contribution from the proposing organization, church or consortium (group of organizations), either directly, or in kind, with volunteer work, etc. There would be a transparent point system with objective criteria for decisions on funding and added points for leveraging partnerships with the private sector. Budget: $50,000 for admin, publicity, management, office, etc. $100,000 training/business counseling services. $200,000 revolving fund for young entrepreneurs. $150,000 grant initiatives.