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Republican candidates

Name: Wayne A. Bunker

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Work/elected experience: Air Force Vietnam-era veteran; Peru Fire Department, 18 years; Peru School Board, president four times; chief financial officer for Peru Community Schools; adjunct instructor at Ivy Tech Community College in accounting and economics; currently work as real estate investor. Educational background: Peru High School; Indiana University – bachelor’s degree in accounting and management; Indiana Wesleyan University – master’s degree in accounting and management

Age: 67

Family: Married with four daughters

With the announcement Schneider Electric will close by the end of the year, what can the city do to offset the pending loss of more than 300 workers and encourage new economic development?

The administration could help workers by being empathic to their issues, the city can contact and work with local agencies and colleges helping with the impact of losing jobs and help arrange for retraining to acquire the necessary skills to find employment in the 21st century.

When elected, a person within the mayor’s office will reach out personally, at least annually, to all businesses, finding out what their needs, issues they have, what we are doing right and what needs improvement. This person will work personally with the Chamber of Commerce and the Miami County Economic Development Authority to locate interested prospects for our community.

Businesses locate in communities having amenities for future employees. Professor Michael Hicks, an economics professor from Ball State, has written that communities who fail to invest the precious few dollars they might have will continue to decline in the future.

We will invest in recreation, streets, sidewalks and transportation to make our community a desirable place to locate, live, play, dine and shop. Isn’t it time to move into the 21st century? Will you help me make this vision possible?

What new programs or projects, if any, would you implement if elected mayor?

We have an integrated four-part platform that works together to improve the image of Peru. To attract a business or retailer, we will fully implement our platform of employment, streets and sidewalks, recreation and transportation.

For employment, we will concentrate on our strongest asset, location, to actively recruit warehousing and distributing firms. There are 44 million people living within 250 miles of Peru.

For streets and sidewalks, we will implement a sidewalk program where the homeowner will only be responsible for the concrete cost and the city will take out and install the new sidewalk, improving our image to businesses that we contact to locate here.

For recreation, we will start with a long-hoped-for splash park for summer 2020. We will explore many other programs to make our city attractive to outside investors such as a 2020 summer concert series in the severely underutilized amphitheater in Maconaquah Park.

For transportation, we will implement a fixed route transportation system making our community accessible to all. This will make our community attractive to businesses wishing to locate here, we will have a more accessible population that will be able to work or shop at their business.

What is the biggest issue facing Peru, and what would you do to address it?

There are many interrelated big problems. Peru has had several closings or announced closings in the last four months; this will severely impact our community (Square D, K-Mart, Fastenal, Shoppers Value, LSJ Stampings).

Employment is a high priority, but this issue simply cannot be erased overnight. We must use 21st century thinking utilizing all the assets we have – two major four-lane highways, major rail connection, longest runway in Indiana – to sell our community to outside investors and firms. We have an excellent location for warehousing and distribution for products consumers need and want.

Our community has severe budgeting issues facing it. We have had a 16.6-percent population decline since 2000; our tax assessment is the same as it was in 2011 (a decade ago) and our local-income tax is flat. All these will decline as a result of the recently announced closures.

Without a cohesive integrated effort, we will continue our decline and worse.

Name: Miles Hewitt

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Miles Hewitt

Work/Elected experience: After graduation, I and started working in a local factory as a raw material handler. I was promoted to the shipping and receiving department and then promoted to shipping clerk. I was also elected as the union steward over shipping and receiving. While working at this factory, I attended Indiana University of Kokomo and the Wabash vocational school. During this period, I also worked as a jail deputy for the Miami County Sheriff’s Department.

In February 1981, I was sworn in as a full-time patrolman for the City of Peru Police Department, where I am still employed. I have held several positions during my career, including corporal, juvenile sergeant, patrol division sergeant and assistant chief.

Age: Not provided

Family: Wife, Betty Sue (Susie); two sons and one daughter; seven grandchildren

With the announcement Schneider Electric will close by the end of the year, what can the city do to offset the pending loss of more than 300 workers and encourage new economic development?

The closing of Schneider Electric will undoubtedly have a financial impact, not only for the families who are losing their jobs, but also to the city of Peru and Miami County. If elected mayor, I intend to work aggressively with the economic development team to try and get new industries to locate within our city or county. I will also be very proactive in making contacts on my own to make sure this happens.

What new programs or projects, if any, would you implement if elected mayor?

As mayor of Peru, I would put together a feasibility study committee to try to get our airport relocated to the Grissom Aeroplex. If this can be done, we will have an opportunity to entice more industry into our area. Our airport now cannot handle a jet airplane. If we can utilize Grissom Aeroplex, the outcome would be very beneficial to our area, especially with U.S 24 and 31.

I would also work on a plan to do away with the extra cost the citizens of Peru have to endure to have couches, chairs, etc. picked up by the Street Department. This cost was supposed to be included into the original cost of $12.50 per month that was added to the electric bill.

I would also work diligently to try and have more activities for our children and younger adults within the community. The children are our future, and as a community we need to facilitate growth and learning.

What is the biggest issue facing Peru, and what would you do to address it?

We need to get people involved within the city. If elected mayor, I will have an open door policy. If I’m in my office I will be available to talk to anyone. I will implement a coffee, lunch or breakfast with the mayor a couple times a month. This will give the general public who can’t make it to the council meeting an opportunity to meet with the mayor and voice their opinions and concerns. We also need to get our younger citizens involved, so when it comes time for them to take the reins, they will be prepared.

Remember it’s our City your voice. Make your voice count.

Name: David Makin

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Work/elected experience: I've worked for many years in the tech industry both in sales and in marketing at a regional and national level. I've owned two small businesses in Peru. I have worked in construction, as a music recording engineer, and have served in the Army and the National Guard. Through the years, I have worked to build business relationships at the local, regional, national and global levels. I have integrated various technologies into corporate strategies and marketing plans. I have a good working knowledge of how local government functions.

Age: 50

Family: I have a wonderful family who has been tremendously supportive of me through the process of running for office. The only way I could love them more is if they could just close the fridge door all the way and turn off a light or two. These are the people for whom I'm running for office. Yes, I really want Peru to succeed. But when I think about where Peru is going, I see Brayson and Daxon and wonder what they will be doing in 20 years.

With the announcement Schneider Electric will close by the end of the year, what can the city do to offset the pending loss of more than 300 workers and encourage new economic development?

The path forward for Peru is small business (under 500 employees) and residential quality of life.

Peru can offer small businesses with well-paying jobs, worker training assistance, low building costs, low crime, reliable utilities and amazing people. All of this is very attractive to small business.

Peru can restore our quality of life to what it once was with well-furnished parks and community activities. Low housing costs, friendly government, low crime, easy access to larger areas… These things are why people like living here. Small businesses like that, too.

In 2019, the internet is the first place everyone looks for information. Updating the City’s website allows small businesses to find our town, even when we didn’t know they were looking for us.

Peru can create an incubator program for small business that includes walk-through guides for permitting, local demographics, training programs and grants, funding programs, real estate options and much more.

We can use these same tools to help existing businesses grow and expand as well.

What new programs or projects, if any, would you implement if elected mayor?

Creating a long-term maintenance program for our City’s streets saves the City money and better serves everyone in Peru. Pothole and road damage reporting by the community needs to be front and center.

City parks are required for building a family and effects the lives and attitudes of everyone in town. We need a plan to update these to what they should be. The community should be directly involved with building that plan.

Communication with residents and businesses is central to restoring Peru’s economy and improving our quality of life. The community needs to be heard, action needs to be taken, and officials need to report back with regular status updates.

The City needs to use the internet to get our message out. The City’s website should show our community for what it is: a great place to live, a great place to raise a family and a great place run a business.

Failing to integrate Peru into the internet age drives the next generation away and prevents businesses from expanding or moving here.

What is the biggest issue facing Peru, and what would you do to address it?

Like many small towns, Peru is struggling to make a better way of life today, while building a better future for generations to come.

We currently have to pick up the phone or visit city hall in person to do even the most basic things with our government, but that’s not how business gets done today; and that’s not the world that awaiting the class of 2020 as they prepare to enter the workforce.

Employers that grow by leveraging the latest technologies plant themselves in communities that do the same. It is clear to me that our city’s administration is failing to rise to that standard.

While the internet doesn’t solve all our problems, it is an indispensable tool. It lets business interact with the City, it keeps residents informed, and helps keep our city officials in check and transparent. We can love our past and focus on our future.

The success of our community depends on a mayor who can do both.

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