Primary forced for West Lafayette council seat
A Democrat who helped craft the city’s climate resolution forces a primary in West Lafayette’s District 4. Plus, a handful of this and that heading into the weekend.
Thanks to Duke Energy for sponsoring today’s edition, as it announces a change in its local community relations team.
A few notes, midday Friday …
PRIMARY IN WEST LAFAYETTE, TOO: The 2023 municipal elections have lined up at least one primary on each side of the Wabash River, after Democrat Iris O’Donnell Bellisario filed Thursday to run for West Lafayette City Council’s District 4 seat. That seat is held by Larry Leverenz, who filed to run for re-election earlier this month.
O’Donnell Bellisario, a 2020 Purdue grad who moved to West Lafayette six years ago, was among young activists who worked with Mayor John Dennis in 2019 on a climate resolution to get the city to commit to doing things to reduce carbon emissions and other moves to deal locally with climate change.
O’Donnell Bellisario, who works in public service and for a nonprofit, said she didn’t have an issue with the way Leverenz, a retired Purdue professor, has represented the district, which includes a central part of West Lafayette, north and east of Purdue’s campus. She said it was just a matter of living in the same district.
“Working with (Dennis) and (council president) Peter Bunder really inspired me to realize that local change is the answer to a lot of our big issues,” O’Donnell Bellisario said. “I kind of decided at that point that I wanted to run for city council. … I don't necessarily want to force the primary, but I think we're in a really crucial moment for leadership change. I'd really like to see young voices represented in our leadership team. We have a very young population.”
When he filed, Leverenz, first elected in 2015, said he hoped to continue to play a role in the city’s potential “to become a significant player in the technology growth in the state.”
“There is already evidence of that with the businesses already here and those planning to come,” Leverenz said. “With that influx of business and research facilities, plus the growth of Purdue, comes both opportunities and challenges. It is my hope that by being on the council, I can help to provide the infrastructure to support that growth while keeping West Lafayette the kind of city we have all enjoyed for many years.”
With a week left during the filing period ahead of the May primary, no other primary challenges on the West Side.
A Lafayette City Council primary emerged on the Democratic side when four candidates filed for three at-large seats on the nine-member council. Incumbents Kevin Klinker, Nancy Nargi and Steve Snyder will be joined by Derek Reuter, a stage lighting worker and freelance producer making his first run for office. This will be the third consecutive city election with a Democratic primary for those at-large positions, which are selected by voters across the city. In 2015 and 2019, incumbents with at-large seats – Klinker, Nargi and Lon Heide – tied their platforms together, touted their work with Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski and handily beat Democratic challengers in sparsely attended primaries. In 2015, there were two challengers. In 2019, there was one.
Here were the filings, as of Friday morning.
Candidates have until noon Friday, Feb. 3, to get on the Democratic or Republican primary ballots. The primary will be May 2. The general election will be Nov. 7
For the latest filings, in a list the elections office has been updating daily, here’s a link.
GUILTY VERDICT IN ATTEMPTED MURDER CASE: A Tippecanoe County jury convicted Antoinette Green, 64, this week of attempted murder in connection with an August incident in which she was accused to shooting at an employee of the Spring Gardens Apartments, where she once lived, prosecutors reported. She faces between 25 and 60 years in prison. Here are accounts from WLFI and from the Journal & Courier.
CHIANG PICKS UP PRESIDENTIAL LECTURE SERIES: The first guest in the Purdue Presidential Lecture Series of Mung Chiang’s tenure will be David MacMillan, a Princeton professor who shared the 2021 Nobel Prize in chemistry. Chiang will host MacMillan at 6 p.m. Feb. 13 in Stewart Center’s Fowler Hall. Admission is free. For more about MacMillan’s work – dealing with the development and impact of asymmetric organocatalysis – and the reason for his Nobel Prize, check the Nobel site here. Chiang’s predecessor, Mitch Daniels, started the Presidential Lecture Series in 2014, using it as a chance for Q&As with newsmakers, business leaders, politicians, historians and authors.
FREE DAY AT WEST LAFAYETTE WELLNESS CENTER: The West Lafayette Wellness Center, on the north end of Cumberland Park, will host a free day of activities to mark the center’s second anniversary. For a list of events, classes, pool times and more, here’s a link.
AND, FINALLY …: Purdue men’s basketball, off a road win at Michigan (read J&C reporter Sam King’s account here), released this uniform news Friday morning, courtesy of Rick Mount, a guy who wore it well. The throwbacks will be in play Sunday, when No. 1 Purdue hosts Michigan State at Mackey Arena.
More soon …
Thanks, again, to Duke Energy for sponsorship help with today’s Based in Lafayette edition.
THANKS FOR SUPPORTING INDEPENDENT, LOCAL REPORTING.