At a swearing-in ceremony on Jan. 1, members of Bloomington City Council, the mayor and city clerk took the oath of office for new four-year terms. Watch the ceremony on CATS here.
Four new councilmembers were seated for their first terms: Kate Rosenbarger (District 1), Sue Sgambelluri (District 2), Ron Smith (District 3) and Matt Flaherty (At-Large). They replaced Chris Sturbaum, Dorothy Granger, Allison Chopra and Andy Ruff on council.
Returning to the 9-member council are Dave Rollo (District 4), Isabel Piedmont-Smith (District 5), Steve Volan (District 6), Susan Sandberg (At-Large) and Jim Sims (At-Large). In addition, Mayor John Hamilton and City Clerk Nicole Bolden were also sworn in during the Jan. 1 ceremony, following their re-election on Nov. 5, 2019.
Click here for the Chamber's directory of elected officials.
The May 5, 2020 primary election is months away, but Monroe County Elections is already recruiting poll workers. These are paid positions for Election Day.
To be a poll worker in Monroe County, you must meet these requirements:
For more information about the various jobs available – including the student poll worker program – check out Monroe County Election Central or contact their office at 812-349-2612.
"Being a good citizen is tough work." That was part of the message from former Congressman Lee Hamilton in discussing the 2019 Indiana Civic Health Index, a look at civic indicators including voter turnout and cultural attitudes. He was part of a panel discussion on Nov. 20 with attorney Bill Moreau and former Indiana Chief Justice Randy Shepard at the Indiana Memorial Union.
In 2018, Indiana ranked 37th in the nation for voter registration and 43rd for voter turnout.
In addition to measuring current civic health, the report makes two recommendations:
To help address those goals, Bill Moreau has co-founded the Indiana Citizen Education Foundation Inc., a nonpartisan nonprofit focused on increasing the number of informed, engaged Hoosier Voters.
Go to IndianaCitizen.org to learn about the work of the Indiana Citizen Education Foundation. The group is also organizing the Indiana Civic Health Alliance, a coalition to support the recommendations of the 2019 Indiana Civic Health Index.
Thanks to Chamber Ambassadors and staff for helping out Monroe County Election Central on Election Day!
At the request of Election Director Karen Wheeler, we placed signs to alert voters in districts where elections weren't held this year, to help avoid confusion.
Results of the Nov. 5 local election for Bloomington City Council: In District 2, Democrat Sue Sgambelluri defeated Republican Andrew Guenther. In District 3, Democrat Ron Smith prevailed over Independents Nick Kappas and Marty Spechler. No other local races were contested.
Thanks to Ambassadors Kelsey Haislip (right, at Summit Elementary) and Michele Tierney, as well as Chamber staffers Jim Shelton, Stacy Bruce, Tammy Walker and Rachel Levy for helping out. Look for more nonpartisan election support in 2020!
Seven candidates for Bloomington City Council answered questions about support for the arts at a candidate forum on Tuesday, Sept. 17 organized by Arts Forward Bloomington. The municipal election is on Nov. 5.
The group included candidates in the only two competitive races for council: District 2 candidates Andrew Guenther (R) and Sue Sgambelluri (D), and District 3 candidates Nicholas Kappas (I) and Ron Smith (D). Another District 3 candidate, Marty Spechler (I), did not attend.
Others participating were Democrats Matt Flaherty (at-large), Isabel Piedmont-Smith (District 5), and Steve Volan (District 6). Democrat Susan Sandberg (at-large) sent a statement that was read by Sally Gaskill. None of these candidates are opposed on Nov. 5 so they will automatically be seated in January 2020.
All candidates expressed strong support for the arts. Many mentioned their own involvement – as patrons or practitioners – and described specific actions they'd support on council to ensure a healthy arts community.
For example, both Isabel Piedmont-Smith and Steve Volan, who currently serve on council, expressed interest in including a new performing arts venue as part of the Monroe County Convention Center expansion.
The event, held at the Waldron Arts Center, was moderated by Danielle McClelland, executive director of the Buskirk Chumley Theater.
During her opening remarks, Danielle reported that the city's expenditures on the arts totaled $773,928. That figure included funding to maintain the Buskirk-Chumley building and support its programming, as well as grants through the Bloomington Arts Commission and a range of other sources.
Click here to see the report on city funding sources for the arts. Click here to watch the forum on CATS.
Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton won't be facing any independent challengers in the Nov. 5 municipal election. And unless official write-in candidates file by noon on July 3, many residents in the city won't be going to the polls. That's because except for Districts 2 and 3, there won't be any competition in other districts or citywide races. [UPDATE: No write-in candidates filed by the July 3 deadline.]
Elections generally aren't held unless there are contested races or official write-in candidates. The decision not to have an election is made by the Monroe County Election Board.
Monday, July 1 at noon was the filing deadline for independent candidates. According to Karen Wheeler, Monroe County election supervisor, one potential candidate for mayor – Nile Arena – submitted fewer than 230 signatures, far less than the required 522 needed to be put on the ballot. No one else filed to run for mayor.
Sunday, June 30 was the deadline for political parties to meet and select candidates for the Nov. 5 ballot. In Bloomington, the Republican Party did not caucus this year, Wheeler said.
Write-in candidates do not have to submit signatures or be chosen by caucus. They simply need to complete the appropriate paperwork and file it with the Monroe County election staff by noon on July 3. If a write-in files to run for mayor, clerk or an at-large council seat, then elections will be held citywide. [UPDATE: No write-in candidates filed by the July 3 deadline.]
Competition for Council in Districts 2 & 3
District 3 will see the most competitive race. Ron Smith, who won the May 7 Democratic Party primary, will run against two independents: Marty Spechler and Nick Kappas.
In District 2, Republican Andrew Guenther and Democrat Sue Sgambelluri will be on the Nov. 5 ballot.
Again, if no one files to be a write-in candidate for mayor, clerk or for other districts or at-large council seats, only voters in Districts 2 and 3 will be casting ballots on Nov. 5.
Voter Registration Deadline: October 7
Monday, Oct. 7 is the deadline to register to vote in the Nov. 5 election. Click here for a voter registration application form. For information about voting requirements, photo ID regulations, absentee voting and more, check out the 2019 Indiana Voter Registration Guide or the Monroe County Election Central website.
Director of Advocacy & Public Policy