ELKHART — State Rep. Tim Neese, a Republican, isn’t just exploring the possibility of a mayoral bid here anymore.
He said Monday, Aug. 26, that he plans, in fact, to run for the top slot in the city in 2015 elections. “I just am interested in contributing to the city of Elkhart in a different context,” he said when approached after a presentation by Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard to the Elkhart Rotary Club.
Dick Moore, a Democrat, is serving in his second term as Elkhart mayor. He’s not said if he plans to run again in 2015.
The period to formally file to run in the 2015 race comes later, Neese said. But he’s launched fundraising efforts — Ballard was the featured guest at a fundraiser set for 5 p.m. Monday — and other aspects of the campaign are rolling ahead.
Neese, in his sixth term as a representative to the Indiana House for District 48, which includes northern Elkhart and northern Elkhart County, announced earlier this month that he had formed an exploratory committee to consider a mayoral bid. At the same time, he said he would not seek another term as state representative in 2014 elections.
Neese said he’s been mulling a bid for mayor the “last couple years.” He served on the Elkhart City Council for 15 years before winning election to the Indiana House in 2002.
Moore and the Elkhart City Council are embroiled in a heated, ongoing controversy as they try to establish new rates for commercial city sewer customers outside Elkhart’s municipal limits. That, though, didn’t factor in Neese’s decision to run for mayor.”
“It’s that I have the desire to continue to participate and be involved in the city of Elkhart,” said Neese.
Ballard, speaking before and after his Rotary Club presentation, had positive words for Neese, who was on hand for Ballard’s formal speech.
“I’m a Republican, he’s a Republican. It kind of makes sense that way,” Ballard said. He went on: “I like common-sense people who try to do a good job.”
Ballard didn’t talk about Neese in his formal Rotary address. He discussed his efforts to upgrade Indianapolis’ infrastructure of roads, bridges and bike paths. He also spoke about the transfer of wastewater treatment functions in the city to a public charitable trust, among other things.