Tipton city councilman announces run for mayor | Local news

TIPTON — A Tipton City Councilman has thrown his hat into the mayoral ring.

Rick Chandler, R-District 3, announced he is running for the Republican nomination for Tipton mayor next year. The first-term councilman made his campaign launch announcement at Jim Dandy last week. He is an insurance agent for Clark Insurance Group.

“I understand that real change doesn’t happen by sitting behind a desk and pushing a pencil,” Chandler said at the downtown family restaurant. “Real change happens by going into the community, rolling up your sleeves, getting your hands a little dirty and going to work. I’ve never shied away from hard work, and I never will.”

Chandler has lived in Tipton since 1995 and has been involved in numerous community organizations, such as the Humane Society of Tipton County, Tipton Suns of Kiwanis Club, Tipton Band Boosters and served as assistant scoutmaster for the Boy Scouts Troop 595. He is currently an agent for Country Corner Insurance.

In conjunction with his campaign launch, Chandler introduced the “Tipton Ten,” what he describes as a “community-based platform that will help improve” the city.

The Tipton Ten is as follows:

  • Sidewalks for all.
  • Improved walkability for handicapped residents.
  • Commitment to downtown revitalization.
  • Promote Tipton statewide.
  • Enhanced park facilities for tweens and teens.
  • Full service animal shelter and continued support of animal services.
  • Improved emergency services facilities.
  • Growing our community with new homes and market rate apartments.
  • Establishing a small business committee.
  • Advocating for U.S. 31 and Division Road interchange.

In a brief interview with the Tribune on Wednesday, Chandler expounded on some of the tenets of his Tipton Ten.

The city already has a sidewalk repair and replacement program where the city will help pay for replacement of a property owner’s sidewalks.

Chandler, though, said he would make it a priority to hasten the process of the city installing sidewalks to neighborhoods that have never had sidewalks at no cost to residents.

He cited the safety concerns that come with pedestrians having to walk on the street or on the grass because of a lack of sidewalks as the main reason for this issue being added to his platform. He added that his goal by the end of his first term would be to walk from one end of the city to another and never have to leave a sidewalk.

“I think there are sections of the city where residents are getting sidewalks that have never had one before, but my concern is I don’t think it’s happening fast enough,” Chandler said. “I know there’s only so much money to go around to commit to various projects, but as mayor I’d want to make sure that this is a focus.”

Another top priority for Chandler is finally establishing a full service, no-kill animal shelter and comprehensive animal services, something the city and county have never had. Since the end of 2018 when a long-standing contract with the Kokomo Humane Society wasn’t renewed, Chandler and other volunteers and animal lovers began their own efforts to open the shelter.

Four years later, with a building acquired and funding support from both the city and county, the shelter is closer than ever to opening.

Chandler said that experience of working with both city and county officials is something he’ll continue if elected mayor.

“I would look to continue that momentum, working very closely with our commissioners, our county council and our city council,” he said.

Another priority of his, Chandler said, would be creating a small business committee where he would discuss thoughts and ideas on how the city could help local businesses grow, as well as look to add amenities, such as a skate park, to the city’s park in order to attract more tweens and teens to the park.

His campaign website is chandlerfortipton.com.

Chandler is the second person to announce a run for mayor.

Kegan Schmicker, the executive director of the Tipton County Chamber of Commerce, announced his campaign for the Republican nomination for mayor in May.

Formal declaration and registration for May’s primary election doesn’t begin until January.

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