Oct. 22, 2003
Hopefuls preach vision, image, freedom for Terre Haute

By Peter Ciancone

The short answer, one from each candidate: vision, image and freedom.
Each hopeful for mayor of Terre Haute shared the expanded version Tuesday morning with members of the Breakfast Exchange Club of Terre Haute.
To Republican Duke Bennett, the city has lacked vision and long-term planning, something he hopes to supply.
"Most of the planning done around here is about the next election," he said. The city needs to bring diverse elements of the community to the table to talk about goals, then rely on a mayor who can lead the community toward them.
"What I think is extremely important is getting people involved in the political process," he said. His own party has yet to live up to opposition party status, with many Republicans voting Democratic in the primary so they could have a say in the future. "We need a two-party system."
One immediate goal he expressed was to create a technology park that would provide a place for the businesses growing out of Rose-Hulman Ventures.
"We need to capture as many of those companies as we can," he said.
Democrat Kevin Burke said Terre Haute suffers from a negative image.
"As long as our image is that we don't smell good, that we don't have good leadership, and we're bound up with union labor, we're not going to grow," he said. By changing the image - through everything from day-to-day cleanliness to working with unions to attract industry - the city can take advantage of the universities that are a big part of the city's strength.
"We're a college town," he said. "It's what we do best."
Changing the image will make the city more attractive to students, who may then decide to stay and add to the local pool of talent.
"Talent is what businesses need," he said. "They can get 99-cent-an-acre ground anywhere. They can get tax abatements anywhere."
Ed Gluck said he would limit government, and offered an alternative to what he called "bullies" that run local government, and who support it by not questioning its authority.
"The elites, they tell you how to live, and they tell you how they'll spend your money," he said. Recalling a recent comment he made about marijuana, and an editorial in the Tribune-Star condemning him for it, Gluck added, "They make fun of someone smoking a doobie, but that's a symptom of the problem."
The main change needed, Gluck said, is to get government out of areas that should be left to private enterprise.
"Government should not be in competition with business," he said.
Burke was questioned about his comments regarding unions. He said unions had to compete along with everybody else, bringing their training and organization to the table as a sales point.
Asked what his first act as mayor would be, Gluck said he would start by repudiating the Patriot Act passed in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. Many other communities already have done so, he said, because its limits on freedom are unconstitutional.
All three candidates agreed to seek qualified people for city jobs, using a human resources department to screen applicants. That question brought the one good laugh of the morning.
"This is an embarrassing moment," said Gluck. "I actually agree with these guys."
Voters will have another chance to question the three candidates in person at 7 p.m. Monday in City Hall. That forum will be sponsored by several local organizations.
Peter Ciancone can be reached at (812) 231-4253 or pete.ciancone@tribstar.com.

 
Mayoral candidate profiles
A three-part series profiling Terre Haute mayoral candidates Ed Gluck, Kevin Burke and Duke Bennett began Sunday, Oct. 12. Tribune-Star columnist and editorial writer Rex Buntain interviewed each mayoral candidate for the cover of the Perspectives section of the Tribune-Star.
 
Sunday, Oct. 12 - Edward J. Gluck, Libertarian
Sunday, Oct. 19 - Kevin Burke, Democrat
Sunday, Oct. 26 - Duke Bennett, Republican
 
Rex Buntain is a columnist for the Tribune-Star. His column appears Sunday and Monday. He can be reached at (812) 231-4248 or rex.buntain@tribstar.com
 
 
2003 Primary Results
 
Check back in days prior to the November election for more opinion and commentary as well as news coverage.
 

Terre Haute candidate forums

At the first forum on Oct. 14, mayoral candidates were available for public questioning in the Charles T. Hyte Community Center at 13th Street and College Avenue.Candidates were asked to discuss their vision for the renewal and revitalization of the African-American community.
This event was sponsored by the 13th Street Corridor Committee for Community Revitalization.

The League of Women Voters was host of the Oct. 15 forum for Terre Haute City Council candidates in City Hall. Each candidate had the opportunity to address the audience for a set amount of time. Audience members could ask questions after the presentations.

The League will host one more opportunity to hear from candidates for mayor.

Mayoral candidates will be available at 7 p.m. Oct. 27, also in City Hall, and will follow the same format.
The voting league's forums are co-sponsored by the Vigo County Public Library, NAACP, Vigo County Teachers Association, WILL Center, and the Vigo County Retired Teachers Association. For more details, call the library at (812) 232-1113.

Chat with candidates online

The three candidates for mayor will be available Oct. 21-23 to answer questions in the Greater Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce's Web site chat room at terrehaute.com. To register for the chat, e-mail kcraig@terrehautechamber.com. Call Kristin Craig at (812) 232-2391.

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