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2019 Primary Voters Guide: District 19

Incumbent David M. Ray (D) is running for re-election against Tony Mendez (R)

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District 19

Tony Mendez (R), David M. Ray (D)

District 19 of the Indianapolis City-County Council covers part of the east side of the city. Incumbent Democrat David M. Ray is running for re-election against Republican Tony Mendez.

David M. Ray

David Ray was elected to represent Indianapolis City-County Council District 19 in 2015. Ray has been a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local #481 for nearly 15 years and served as its Business Representative. He is currently the Benefits Manager for IBEW Local 481. Born and raised on the east side of Indianapolis, Ray graduated from Scecina Memorial High School. He earned degrees from Ball State University and Ivy Tech. He is an active member of Our Lady of Lourdes parish. He and his wife, Kathleen, live with their three sons on the east side.

[Editor’s note: The following questions were the top six most popular questions submitted by and voted upon by NUVO readers. Mendez did not return his answers before the primary election.]

NUVO: How will you address quality of life issues for Indianapolis residents — affordable housing, food deserts, transportation options for those without cars, air quality, water quality, schools, green space, sustainability, recycling, lack of park funding, etc.?

Ray: As Councillor, I have supported the “Keys to Work” program that hires people who have been incarcerated. The program focuses on illegal dumping and promoting recycling. I also supported an ordinance that states that any developer that receives a tax increment finance incentive must dedicate 1 percent to art.

NUVO: I want to know how they are going to support the public school system.

Ray: Public schools are funded by the State of Indiana, and year after year, public schools in Marion County are underfunded. But there are several programs that I have supported to help address the needs of Indianapolis public school students, including Project Indy, a youth program that engages and helps thousands of at-risk teenagers find summer employment and teaches them soft-skills over the summer months.

NUVO: What are your plans to help Indianapolis have a more equitable distribution of resources to help marginalized communities without contributing to gentrification?”

Ray: As City-Councillor, I have supported the Inclusive Growth program, in which the Indy Chamber worked with the Brookings Institute to look at wages, income gaps, and how it affects Indy residents, the workforce, and the economy. I have also supported Mayor Hogsett’s initiative to transform 2,000 homes in two years. The administration was able to demolish, redevelop, or transform over 2500 homes in the same time span.

NUVO: How will you address the pothole problem?

Ray: I have supported $400 million dollars in new infrastructure funding, so we can fix our crumbling roads and sidewalks.

NUVO: What will you do to encourage the increased use of alternate (non motor vehicle) forms of transportation in the city?

Ray: I have supported funding for Bus Rapid Transit, including the Blue Line which will run through District 19. This will provide a great alternative and reliable form of transportation, and provide increased access to employment, healthcare, shopping, education and more.

NUVO: How do you feel about decriminalizing possession of personal amounts of cannabis, as other large cities have done?

Ray: Our Criminal Justice system in Marion County should be focused on keeping Marion County residents safe from dangerous individuals.

Rob Burgess, News Editor at NUVO, can be reached by email at, by phone at 317-808-4614 or on Twitter @robaburg.