By: BENJAMIN MILLER
As the mayoral campaigns in South Bend begin to heat up, debates about city policy and visions for the future will be front and center as Democrat Henry Davis Jr. and Republican Kelly Jones attempt to unseat the Democratic incumbent Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
But what about the issues the candidates are dealing with before the debates even begin?
Recently back from a deployment with the US Navy, Buttigieg returns to a police wiretapping scandal, infrastructure spending decisions and schools in need of funding.
Kelly Jones is an entrepreneur whose challenges include fundraising and the fact that the city has not elected a Republican mayor since before we landed on the moon.
A representative on the common council since 2008, Davis has served his community in a variety of capacities including involvement in youth centers and hospitals.
Davis is working to establish a political comeback after dealing with several recent political stumbles, including an operating while intoxicated (OWI) charge and posting an obscene photo on Facebook.
South Bend Common Council member Oliver Davis recently referred to Henry Davis jr.’s OWI incident as “ruinous, distressing, careless and erratic,” in a press release.
Oliver Davis reminded the public that the Common Council should focus on being “always responsive to the needs of our residents,” and, “the betterment of South Bend.”
So, is Henry Davis jr. the candidate for the betterment of South Bend?
Khalief Diggs is in his second year working on his Bachelors at IU South Bend.
“I think he would be a good candidate,” Diggs said.
In addition to supporting Davis Jr., Khalief is monitoring whether or not some of the current mayor’s promises are realized by the city’s schools.
“I went to a few of the city council meetings where the mayor was present,” he said. “They talked about revitalizing the city, more funding for math and science in the schools. That was two years ago. It was a lot of camera time but nothing happened.”
Joey Shindledecker, a freshman at IUSB, sees it differently.
“Personally, no. If he’s done it in the past, he might do it again in the future,” he said about Davis’s missteps.
Jerome Boyd, also a freshman at IUSB, isn’t sure about Davis.
“I don’t know if I’d give him that chance again,” he said. “On the one hand, he’s an elected official and shouldn’t make those mistakes. On the other hand, everybody deserves a second chance.”