Candidate Statement, Trent Deckard County Council

In November, I informed the precinct chairs and vice-chairs of our party that I would be a candidate to replace Lee Jones as an At-Large Member of the Monroe County Council upon her election as a county commissioner. Lee has been a remarkable member of our county’s fiscal body and I take the opportunity to replace her very seriously. I believe that my fiscal experience at the local, state, and federal levels of government, along with my skills of communication and willingness to work well with other officials, will allow me to serve our county and its estimated 146,986 residents very well.

I have worked diligently in public service as an agency head and staff leader in state and federal government. I have experience navigating tough budgetary decisions and fighting for top budget priorities, all the while managing complex personnel issues. My state service includes more than two years as Chief of Staff of the Indiana House Democratic Caucus and as the Democratic Co-Director of the Indiana Election from 2011-2015. Before that, I spent four years as a District Director and Field Representative for U.S. Rep. Baron Hill while managing offices and staff in the Ninth Congressional District.

I have had incredible opportunities to work and serve Monroe County where I am an eighth generation native. Many of you may recall my time as the chair of the Monroe County Democratic Party, preceding the tenure of Mark Fraley. I currently serve as an appointed member of the Bloomington Traffic Commission. More recently, I have been active with United Way of Monroe County, Leadership Bloomington-Monroe County, and Bloomington Rotary Club. I also previously served on the board of Stepping Stones, an organization assisting teens experiencing homelessness. Professionally, I began an appointment as a Visiting Lecturer of Communication at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business. These experiences, along with being a parent in the community, prepare me for some of the duties and issues we will face, including:

County Budget

This is the most important item the council creates as a reflection of our values and priorities along with the Sophia Travis Community Grant program. As a careful steward of our taxpayer dollars, I support spending that reflects the priorities of making a safer, more inclusive community for all concerned and that supports a healthier future for all residents including our most vulnerable citizens. We can also incentivize county employment, knowing we are made stronger when we attract and retain the best county employees. We must always make sure that the county budget appropriates the necessary resources to allow a free and fair election that is fully accessible. 

Harm Reduction

I fully support measures designed to offer care and show compassion for some of the most vulnerable members of our community who find their lives impacted by addiction. I believe we've started the process of crafting public policy that works effectively for individuals in our community and addresses an overcrowded judicial system. As someone personally affected by addiction, I look forward to supporting innovative and effective initiatives that compassionately facilitate our community's health and well-being.

Lake Monroe

It is important that we form a coalition of public officials, counties, and organizations, including the Friends of Lake Monroe, to help further protect the Lake Monroe watershed from the potential threats of the future. Partisan gerrymandering has diminished our delegation to the Indiana General Assembly and  allowed a greater possibility for special-interest legislation and other environmental factors that could ultimately damage this resource. My experience helps me as we work with key officials at every level of government. Concerning our overall environment, I will support continuous assessment of sustainability and resiliency issues in the county.

Rural Communities and Townships

The rural communities of Monroe County are vital to our success, workforce, and safety. I know the neighbors who have experienced school closures, are worried about fire protection issues, and want access to modern and necessary resources like cell phone coverage at home. I will work collaboratively with their community leaders in representing and advocating for their issues and ensuring a strong quality of life in all areas of the county. 

If chosen in this caucus, I will be starting mid-way through the term as a new member. For this reason, I will begin a sustained door-to-door outreach effort to meet and hear from new constituents directly. I will continue this program through 2019 and into 2020 when the seat is next on the ballot at which time I intend to be a candidate. Simultaneously, I would propose to willing county departments and office holders that I spend time in their offices learning about roles, services, and functions that let county employees meet their newest council member. As a candidate and office holder, I will not accept any campaign contributions from organizations seeking or holding contracts with the county as a small yet significant gesture, aimed at a greater need for campaign finance reform.

During this caucus campaign, I’ve enjoyed conversations with community leaders, Democratic activists, and elected officials from the township to the courthouse. I have also done my homework by attending County Council meetings or watching on CATS. I’ve often asked tough questions and heard great advice and recommendations. I look forward to our continued discussions during the caucus process and into the future.

As always, feel free to reach me at trentrdeckard@gmail.com or call 812-360-2110. I appreciate your consideration of my candidacy.

Sincerely,

 

Trent Deckard

Candidate for County Council, At-Large

Monroe County

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