Ron Itnyre is running for Common Council At-Large in Richmond, Indiana as a Democrat candidate in the 2023 general election.
2023 Election Guide
Reasons: My wife and I moved to Richmond in 1999. We raised our daughter here and became involved in the schools and local activities (the theatre, symphony, church), making many friends. We teach at Indiana University East and are very committed to education. Ultimately, I want to serve my community that has come to be mean so much to my family.
I have served on or chaired three Richmond committees over 20 years: Street Tree Commission, Wayne Union Recycling Board, and the Wayne County Food Council. I understand the city’s governance and hope to serve now in this official capacity.
Priorities: I am using the acronym EIO to represent three priorities for me:
Environment. Implementing Richmond’s Climate Action Plan to phase in renewable energies, bring in jobs of the new, green economy, and leave the city healthier for all.
Infrastructure. Richmond is over 200 years old and its infrastructure is aging. I support projects that upgrade decrepit, polluting infrastructure such as the city’s current project to upgrade the sewer system. I recognize that street and bridge improvements are both necessary and irksome, though not always the city’s fault (US 40 and US 27 are state projects).
Opportunity for all. Richmond can do more for its diverse citizens, its unemployed and unhoused, and the victims of food insecurities, violence, and abuse. I applaud the work our non-profits do but more of this aid could be coordinated at the city level.
Skills: I am very analytical and attend to details, particularly numbers. This has served me well in obtaining two degrees of higher education (MS and PhD in Plant Pathology from the University of Illinois), in my teaching of the natural sciences, and in my service to the community, the Purdue Extension Board, etc.
I am a good listener and want to hear what others’ concerns and ideas are, which help me form my own opinions. I am not too proud to admit I do not know something and will turn to experts for their input and advice.
Working well: Our city has made every effort to be fiscally responsible during very difficult times. Carefully reviewing and voting on the budget is an integral part of city council’s job. A city should only go into debt by issuing bonds, for very good reasons and for items that have a good return on investment. I compliment our current council for doing that. I would continue that effort of being fiscally responsible.
Needs changing: Many residents do not know who the council members are. Members should be visible in the community. I already attend many community events and would continue to participate in as many more as possible. I might also get a shirt that says “Chat with me. I am on Richmond City Council”!
Accepting results: Yes, I would. I trust that elections in Richmond, Wayne County, Indiana and the US are fair and secure. Election fraud is rare. We should be doing more to make it easier for everyone to vote. Get out to vote this November.
Involving residents: I have been holding house parties ever since I entered politics in order to hear the concerns of citizens. I welcome emails and comments on social media. I have also gone door-to-door to speak to residents. I attend many community events. I would continue these activities as a personal way to gauge the opinions of the populace.
$5 million: First, I would reach out to the community before committing any money to specific projects but these come to mind from discussions I have already had. I would invest in our Climate Action Plan, specifically, efforts to decarbonize energy generation (rooftop solar) and to improve energy efficiency. Richmond can fight climate change while saving residents money. I would plant trees in the hottest parts of town. They provide shade/cooling and remove CO2 from the atmosphere. I would tear down blighted houses and enable their replacement with affordable, more sustainable houses. I would also provide help to enable homeownership by even the most impoverished of citizens. I would provide resources for a war on drugs throughout our community to end substance abuse at all levels.
Other: Even though I was not born here, Richmond is home. I want to see it succeed. I want to serve it. I hope you will give me an opportunity to do that.
A version of this article appeared in the October 11 2023 print edition of the Western Wayne News.