Democrat Stephanie Terry made history on Nov. 7 as the first woman and first Black person elected mayor of Evansville, but she and other new city government officials know the time to celebrate is short.
Terry officially takes office on New Year’s Day, replacing Republican Mayor Lloyd Winnecke, who did not seek a fourth term. Until then, her tasks will include filling key positions in her administration and prioritizing what projects and issues to tackle first.
City Council members, meanwhile, also have much to do.
The three victorious candidates for City Council At-Large all are newcomers — Mary Allen, Paul Green, and Courtney Johnson. They will join six incumbents who won re-election — Ben Trockman in Ward 1, Missy Mosby in Ward 2, Zac Heronemus in Ward 3, Alex Burton in Ward 4, Angela Koehler Lindsey in Ward 5, and Jim Brinkmeyer in Ward 6.
All council members are Democrats except for Koehler Lindsey, a Republican.
Terry took a post-election vacation and was unavailable for comment. Allen, whose vote total led the field of six candidates for the council’s three at-large positions, says council members need to “come together” and identify “things we can and can’t do, and what we can begin rolling up our sleeves to get to work on.”
Allen says she heard a lot during the campaign about public safety, the condition of city parks, and concerns about rising water and sewer rates.
A Downtown business owner, Allen says she’s also heard complaints about road closures in the area.
“It’s been a big frustration,” says Allen, who owns Sixth & Zero at 425 Main St. “Some things there are no control over, but it is a frustration. Are there ways we can plan and coordinate a little better to make better pathways into Downtown?”
Johnson, who leads the nonprofit Young & Established, says there’s a “long list” of key issues in Evansville, but assisting local youth is a priority.
“I care about this community and there’s a lot I’d like to change,” Johnson says. “But our youth definitely need more resources and safe havens.”
Like Allen, Johnson mentioned parks as a key issue, and he’ll strive to be “hands-on” in addressing that problem.
He says that Vann-Pollack Park, which is near Young & Established’s headquarters at 1308 Vann Ave., “has been vandalized four times in the past four months, and we just had another (incident) this week. The lights are turned off, the water is turned off, and restrooms have not worked for a few years.”
Johnson says mental health is another concern in the community, with some residents “not even knowing where the resources are.”
Here are the unofficial vote totals in the Nov. 7 Evansville municipal election, as provided by the Vanderburgh County Election Office. Asterisks denote incumbents.
Democrat Stephanie Terry: 8,679 (49%)
Republican Natalie Rascher: 7,131 (40%)
Libertarian Michael Daugherty: 2,032 (11%)
*Democrat Laura Windhorst: 12,689 (100%)
*Democrat Ben Trockman: 2,092 (57%)
Republican Joshua Edwards: 1,549 (43%)
*Democrat Missy Mosby: 1,494 (65%)
Republican Maytes Rivera: 816 (35%)
*Democrat Zac Heronemus: 1,892 (55%)
Republican Joe Kratochvil: 1,519 (45%)
*Democrat Alex Burton: 1,897 (100%)
*Republican Angela Koehler Lindsey: 2,746 (100%)
*Democrat Jim Brinkmeyer: 1,644 (100%)
At-Large (top three win election)
Democrat Mary Allen: 8,207 (18%)
Democrat Courtney Johnson: 7,899 (17%)
Democrat Paul Green: 7,879 (17%)
*Republican Jonathan Weaver: 7,681 (17%)
Republican Ed Bassemier: 7,678 (17%)
*Republican Ron Beane: 6,670 (15%)