On Nov. 5, citizens of Muncie will take to the polls to determine the next mayor of Muncie and other elected city government positions.
With current Mayor Dennis Tyler leaving office after eight years in the position, the 2019 election will see three candidates vying to take his place — Terry Whitt Bailey (D), Dan Ridenour (R) and Steve Smith (L).
The Daily News sat down with the three mayoral candidates and asked them questions about the relationship between Ball State and Muncie, the Ball State-Muncie Community Schools (MCS) partnership and the future of the city:
Terry Whitt Bailey (D):
Terry Whitt Bailey currently serves as director for community development for the City of Muncie and serves on the boards of various local health and community organizations.
RELATED: Meet Muncie's mayoral candidate: Dan Ridenour
Ball State and Muncie:
While Bailey said she believes a “town-and-gown divide” exists, she said she doesn’t like the term “because it separates us [and] segregates us.”
“We need to talk about how we are together. We have a university that’s in our community, but it’s part of our community,” she said. “As we work together to build the morale of our community and of the university, we see the relationships that we can have with students.”
One subject Bailey mentioned was off-campus housing for students. She proposed a rental registry for landlords and said she wants to make sure code enforcement is utilized so students can have “a place that’s comfortable for them.”
Bailey also said the university and the community need to work with merchants and property owners in the Village to determine their priorities.
“The merchants have needs that are different than the property owners do,” she said. “That’s something I think we’ve ignored for too long, and we need to work with the university to make sure that we’re giving those individuals who are trying to better the Village more of our time and energy.”
RELATED: Meet Muncie's mayoral candidate: Steve Smith
Muncie Community Schools:
At first, Bailey said, Ball State’s takeover of the public school system was “a little uncomfortable,” but now, in the second year of its partnership, she believes “it is something that can be good.”
Bailey said she has already promised to provide $100,000 annually to MCS “for whatever they need.”
Bailey said she thinks this could be “a good partnership” the City of Muncie could have with both the schools and Ball State. While she doesn’t have experience in K-12 education, she said her expertise in higher education could be helpful as well.
Looking to the future:
If elected, Bailey said, she would become the first African-American mayor of Muncie.
“We are on the verge of making history, but that's not why I'm running for mayor,” she said. ”I'm running for mayor because I'm qualified, but people remind me of that as another opportunity for us as a community.”
Going into the future, she said, it is important to include younger generations like college and K-12 students in decisions, adding she would reinstate the Mayor’s Youth Council and make sure to meet with Ball State’s Student Government Association “quarterly, if not monthly.”
Contact Rohith Rao with comments at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @RaoReports.