Tarkington Park Opening Ceremony

July 29, 2017

Below are my comments from today’s opening ceremony for the improved Tarkington Park. The improvements to Tarkington Park were designed and funded via Proposal 77, that I proposed and passed in 2014, as an At-Large member of the Indianapolis City/County Council.

“Good morning. I wanted to use my time today to discuss how the improvements to Tarkington Park came about. About 10 years ago, after being elected to be Butler-Tarkington Neighborhood Association (BTNA) President, I started meeting with neighborhood leaders and businesses. There were lots of ideas for how to make Butler-Tarkington a more livable neighborhood including eliminating the parking meters at 38th and Illinois – but one idea out stood out above the rest. Kathy Shorter, one of the founder’s of Midtown Indy, had a vision for Tarkington Park as a place where all of Midtown could come together. As time went on this idea gained currency and support. First BTNA, followed quickly by our friends at the Broad Ripple Village Association, the Meridian Kessler Neighborhood Association, Mapleton-Fall Creek and from Crown Hill neighbors. Universally, we recognized that a strong Tarkington Park could be a place where all our Midtown neighborhoods — and all of Indianapolis — could come together. Ultimately, as a member of the Indianapolis City/County Council, I was honored to introduce and pass Proposal 77 that funded the park improvements. Today, the results are clear – Kathy’s vision, put forward 10 years ago, has resulted in a park that is an exciting, dynamic place for families of all backgrounds come together to play and enjoy life.”


Tarkington Park Openeing


Bipartisan Team to Run OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon to Support Project Home Indy

April 15, 2015

Bipartisan Team to Run OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon to Support Project Home Indy

INDIANAPOLIS (April 16, 2015/Coles Marketing) – Politicians run against each other at election time, but a bipartisan trio has found a reason to run together this May.

Indianapolis City/County Council Vice President John Barth, Councillor Jeff Miller and State Rep. Christina Hale will be running the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon to support local nonprofit Project Home Indy.

Project Home Indy is a nonprofit dedicated to serving homeless teen moms and their babies. Barth, Miller and Hale are asking supporters to donate $20 to sponsor their mini-run on Saturday, May 2.

Barth, a Project Home Indy board member, said, “I’m proud to support the 500 Festival and Project Home Indy, two important nonprofit organizations in Indianapolis. Project Home Indy serves a critical function in our city, helping at-risk young women get on the right track to self-sufficiency.”

The three politicans hope to raise $5,000 for Project Home Indy. Donations can be made at the Project Home Indy website: projecthomeindy.org.

“We appreciate Councillor Barth, Councillor Miller and Representative Hale’s support of our young families,” said Project Home Indy Executive Director Lakshmi Hasanadka. “They are working together to raise awareness about our mission to break the devastating cycles of poverty, abuse and neglect that plague the young families we serve.”

“I’m excited to have the opportunity to use my love of running the Mini-Marathon as a way to bring attention to Project Home Indy and the work they do in Indianapolis,” said Miller, who represents a southside district.

The three officials will visit Project Home Indy’s home on April 18 to take a tour and learn more about the program offered.

Now in its 39th year, the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon is the nation’s largest half-marathon. As the 500 Festival’s largest fundraiser and a vital part of the city’s civic fabric, proceeds from the race help fund the 500 Festival’s free program and events. The 13.1-mile course stretches from downtown Indianapolis to the famed 2.5 mile oval at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and ends downtown in Military Park.

Project Home Indy provides a nurturing residential environment to empower homeless teenage girls who are pregnant or parenting to gain self-sufficiency.

Learn more online at www.projecthomeindy.org and follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/projecthomeindy.

RELEASE: City-County Council to Introduce Resolution against SEA 101 Monday

March 27, 2015

City-County Council: All are welcome, RFRA hurts our City

Resolution against SEA 101 to be introduced Monday

 Indianapolis – Members of the Indianapolis City-County Council will introduce a resolution on Monday opposing the recent passage of SEA 101 which many view an opening the door to discrimination and possible economic consequences for Marion County.

“The City of Indianapolis is a welcoming place that values all its citizens – SEA 101 does not reflect the diversity of our great city,” said Council President Maggie Lewis.

The resolution, Proposal 120, will be introduced at Monday’s City-County Council meeting. Proposal 120 opposes the Indiana General Assembly’s passage of Senate Enrolled Act 101, also known as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), and encourages State legislators to amend the Civil Rights section of the Indiana Code to include sexual orientation and to uphold and protect local anti-discrimination ordinances by exempting them from SEA 101.

Council Vice President John Barth said “The encouraging news is that local business leaders, community groups, elected officials, and Indianapolis residents are expressing their concern about RFRA and affirming that what makes our city great is the diversity of our people and our welcoming hospitality.”

The resolution reiterates what Council ordinances have already made clear: Indianapolis welcomes people of any sexual orientation, race, gender identification, ethnicity, religion, or creed.

A copy of the resolution can be viewed at the Council’s webpage: http://www.indy.gov/eGov/Council/Meetings/Council/Pages/agendas.aspx



March 2, 2015


Denise Herd, Herd Strategies
p: 317-796-0514
e: denise@herdstrategies.com


INDIANAPOLIS – Tonight the Indianapolis City-County Council passed Proposal 42, investing more than $4 million to provide a high-quality pre-K education for more than 1,000 students from some of the city’s neediest families. The money will be used to provide scholarships to attend highly-rated pre-K programs.

Approval of the Preschool Scholarship Program funding proposal allows the city to leverage $4.4 million already raised from the corporate community.

Council President Maggie A. Lewis and Vice President John Barth released this joint statement:
“We are proud of the action taken by council tonight and of the true community effort that helped launch this program. Making quality pre-K available to students who need it most will level the playing field and help them start school ready to learn and be high achievers. We look forward to building a successful program.”


Statement on Pre-K Proposal Introduction

November 11, 2014

Statement from Council Vice President John Barth on Pre-K Proposal Introduction

“The bi-partisan Indianapolis Pre-K Proposal 367 was introduced at tonight’s City/County Council meeting. It includes provisions we worked hard to include since pre-K plans were first announced, including serving children beginning at age 3, and serving families at the lowest income levels first. Proposal 367 requires the pre-K funds, raised from the city, be used for student scholarships only and that only high quality centers are eligible.

I am proud of the work that was done across party lines and with the input of many community supporters of pre-K, including Eli Lilly & Co. which has pledged to raise $10M for this effort.

This proposal will be heard in committee at 5:30 on 11/11 at the City/County Building.

New Day for Indy Pre-K

November 5, 2014

New Day for Indy Pre-K

Bipartisan proposal that serves neediest families set to be introduced Nov. 10; expands access to three-year-olds; pays for pre-K scholarships; does not raise taxes

Indianapolis – City/County Council President Maggie Lewis and Vice President John Barth, along with a bipartisan group of Councilors, announced today they will introduce a proposal to establish the Indianapolis Pre-K Program at the Council’s November 10th meeting.

Recognizing that families with modest incomes have the least access to quality pre-K, the proposal focuses on families whose annual income is less than 127 percent of the federal poverty level. For a family of four, 127 percent of the federal poverty level is an annual income of $30,290. The program will serve both three and four year olds.

“The Indianapolis Pre-K program will provide access to high-quality early preschool to help close the learning gap for those most in need,” said Council Vice President John Barth. “I’m proud that, through hard work and careful negotiations, this proposal has earned bipartisan Council support as well as support from the Mayor’s Office and the corporate community. But I am most gratified that it will help children in our community get a better start in school.”

Proposal 237 is co-sponsored by Democrats Maggie A. Lewis, John Barth, Leroy Robinson, Pam Hickman, Steve Talley, and Mary ‘Moriarty Adams and Republicans Jeff Miller and Ben Hunter.

Pre-K Program Highlights:
• Covers children starting at age three.
• Targets families at or under 127 percent of the federal poverty level (program can serve families at higher FPL levels with Council approval).
• Funds only high quality pre-K providers, as defined by the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration’s Paths to QUALITY program.
• Creates a process for oversight and accountability by tasking the Council’s Community Affairs and Education Committee to oversee the overall program and its budget.
• Limits spending to pay for direct services to children only, not provider capacity building. Funds from the corporate community will be used for pre-K provider capacity building.

“This pre-K proposal keeps the focus where it should be – on our city’s most at-risk families by ensuring that their children have access to high quality early childhood education,” said Council President Maggie A. Lewis. “This proposal puts forward a high-quality pre-K program and gets our city’s youngest and most vulnerable residents on a path to good education and brighter future.”

“Council leadership thanks Mayor Ballard for proposing the initial concept of a pre-k program for Indianapolis”, President Lewis continued. “We also thank Deputy Mayor Jason Kloth, Chief of Staff Jason Dudich and former Chief of Staff Ryan Vaughn for their work with the Council in developing the initiative”.

The sponsors have identified $15 million to dedicate to this program over a five-year period, with a commitment to identify additional funds each year. Identified funds include savings from removing 35,000 ineligible homes from the Homestead Tax Credit program, reallocation of funds currently used for oversight of charter schools, and interest from the Fiscal Stability Fund.

“I’m pleased to be a co-sponsor of this proposal; it shows what can be done when elected officials put politics aside and work together on the priorities of our city,” said District 19 Councilor Jeff Miller.

If the ordinance is approved, the city’s investment will leverage $10 million in Indianapolis private sector funding, which Eli Lilly and Company has pledged to raise. In addition, the program is expected to leverage an additional $10 million in philanthropic and other donations – fully separate from the Indianapolis private sector investment. The Indianapolis Pre-K Program is a pilot over five years, funded from public and private funds, aimed directly at providing a path for children from venerable families to a better education and a better life.

“I applaud the leadership and vision of the Indianapolis companies who are committed to helping expand early childhood education opportunities in our community, especially Eli Lilly, who is a cornerstone of this pre-k program,” said President Lewis.


2015 Indy Budget Approved with Bipartisan Council Support

October 14, 2014

2015 Budget Approved with Bipartisan Council Support

Budget address public safety needs, supports schools and protects taxpayers

Indianapolis – Tonight, the Indianapolis City/County Council approved the 2015 budget in a bipartisan vote that included input from both parties. The budget addresses critical public safety issues, but holds the line on taxes and protects critical school funding. “I am pleased we came to a bipartisan agreement that serves our entire community,” said Council President Maggie A. Lewis. “A budget that improves public safety and protects taxpayers is a win for all our residents.”

“Throughout the budget process, the Council majority and Mayor’s Office worked together,” said Council Vice President John Barth, “From the beginning, the Council’s goal has been to support IMPD officers while minimizing the impact on taxpayers. We were able to do both with this budget.”