Indianapolis mayoral candidates trade remarks at 2023 annual Indy HobNob

Jefferson Shreve speaks with Political Commentator Abdul Hakim-Shabazz

The Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce hosted their annual HobNob political networking event at the Columbia Club on Monument Circle this Wednesday evening. The event has traditionally hosted a debate between candidates, but this year Mayor Joe Hogsett and challenger Jefferson Shreve both gave stump speeches, hoping to sell their campaigns to the business executives and political leaders in attendance at the event. 

The candidates did not appear in the event room together at the same time, with Hogsett leaving shortly after his remarks at 6 pm, and Shreve staying from his remarks at 6:30 pm until shortly before the close of the event around 8:30 pm. 

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In 2019, the event featured a debate between Hogsett and challenger Jim Merritt. 

The IndyStar reached out to the Hogsett Campaign about the decision to not debate.

“[The Hogsett Campaign] has agreed to candidate debates that are being scheduled before November with details coming soon,” said Blake Hesch, Hogsett campaign spokesperson.

The Collegiate Commons also reached out to the Shreve campaign on Aug. 16, offering to moderate a debate between the two candidates on the campus of  IUPUI.

“Unfortunately, at this point we have already scheduled our debates for the remainder of the campaign,” said Joel Bragg, Executive Director of the Marion County Republican Central Committee. 

Highlights from the Speakers’ Remarks

Stump Speech Highlights

During the course of his speech, Hogsett highlighted his term in office, including a large infrastructure plan.

“Let me say that again, because I don’t think you were listening: $100 million in residential roads and neighborhood streets,” said Hogsett. “And who can forget about the 42 Indy Parks receiving improvements from an 80 million dollar grant from the Lilly Endowment? Oh well, I could keep going all night, as you know.”

Shreve criticized Hogsett for not debating him at the event. 

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“I suspect the Mayor’s unwillingness to stand with me here tonight is related to his advertising strategy. Notice his ads aren’t principally about his record. They’re almost all about me. I suppose in some sense, I should be flattered by that,” he said. “So in lieu of a proper debate, let’s settle this. Joe Hogsett’s entire argument against me, as far as I can tell, as to why I should not be mayor, is that I’m a Republican…. So now that we’ve covered that, let’s talk about Indianapolis.”

He went on to talk about some of his goals for the city, which included appointing a cabinet level position to be involved with the advancement of Indiana University-Indianapolis and Purdue University-Indianapolis. 

“Our path towards leadership is driven by attracting intellectual capital to the hub of our capital city and the hub of our state,” he said. “We must anchor these universities to Indianapolis’s growth. Imagine what we can do if we take that Hard Tech Corridor that President Mung talks about from West Lafayette to Indianapolis, and that STEM corridor that President Whitten talks about from Bloomington to Indianapolis.”

Many current and former candidates from local races and other politicians also attended the event, including IUPUI graduate and Indianapolis city-council candidate Nick Roberts, current councilman Dan Boots, former Indiana Secretary of State candidate Destiny Wells, current state senator Andrea Hunley, as well as Carmel city-council candidates Jessica Irvine and Jake Madore.

Jacob Stewart is a senior majoring in neuroscience at IUPUI. He founded The Collegiate Commons in the Summer of 2023 and currently serves as editor-in-chief. He also serves as the college outreach director for the Young Americans for Solidarity.

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