A second Libertarian has joined Kokomo’s municipal election, this time in the Common Council’s 4th District race.
Daniel Purvis III, a 21-year-old lifelong Kokomo resident, is running against Democratic incumbent Donnie Haworth and Republican challenger Greg Jones, positioning himself as a third-party option in a year he believes has become soiled by partisan bickering and opened the door to outsider candidates.
Purvis, a 2016 Kokomo High School graduate, said he has been interested in running for “a long while.” Also running in this fall’s election is Libertarian mayoral candidate Michael Virgin, who Purvis said he hopes to campaign alongside.
“I think this is especially a good year in Kokomo for independents and third parties to run because of the current state of the city with both of the parties – and overall with both of the parties not being as well-liked on a national level and a state and local level,” he said.
“I think it’s the best chance for third-party candidates to possibly win. I think it’s also good for voters to have a third option.”
Haworth in 2015 defeated Jones with 56% of the vote to retain his 4th District council seat. Kokomo's irregularly shaped 4th District encompasses areas south of Markland to Lincoln road and east of Ind. 931 near Southway Blvd.
Purvis, asked about his platform, said he is concerned about staffing levels at the Kokomo Police Department.
Purvis acknowledged that although the city administration hires officers, not the council, he believes “as a local government we need to increase the amount of police officers up to at minimum 100.”
The KPD, according to a count provided Thursday, has 79 sworn officers.
He said increased staffing would allow officers to commit more time to community-oriented activities and outreach efforts.
“I don’t know about you, but every time I usually have an encounter with a police officer it’s not always that positive,” said Purvis.
“But I think it’d be good for everybody involved if we had a few more positive encounters with police officers. I think that would make the relationship between police officer and citizen – I think that would make that a lot better. Personally, I think we would see a lower crime rate.”
Purvis, who acknowledged that hiring over 20 new police officers would be a major spending increase, said he would fight to “cut things that aren’t exactly helping a lot of people.”
Examples of wasteful spending, he said, can be seen in the road medians constructed across Kokomo.
“I think the bumpouts are a good idea, but the medians I think they’re a little bit too expensive, they take too long, and I think that they’re not all that beneficial to the growth of Kokomo,” noted Purvis.
Purvis, who is legally blind and collects disability, said both his youth and the time he would have to spend on council issues should bolster his campaign and make him more attractive to voters.
“I have some fresh ideas that maybe a lot of the older candidates might not have thought of, and I’m not bought out. … I’m new, which with that, in theory, that would give the voters confidence that I would be working for them,” he said, referencing the need for increased representation for young people in local government.
“Personally with being unemployed that would mean I have more time to put toward being their councilman. I could put more time into that.”