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New Evansville mayor makes history

New Evansville mayor makes history

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Evansville’s incoming mayor on Thursday said she hopes her election is a sign of the region’s continued progress.

When Stephanie Terry takes the oath of office on Monday, she will become the city’s first woman mayor and its first Black mayor. Terry, a Democrat, was one of seven members of her party who flipped control of their city’s mayor’s office. She served on the Vanderburgh County Council prior to her election.

“It’s very humbling that the voters had enough confidence in me to elect me as the first woman and also the first African-American woman,” she said. “I want to celebrate the fact that our region and our city has made that tremendous progress and that we’re looking for individuals that are capable and qualified to do the work.”

In an interview with News 8 for Sunday’s “All INdiana Politics,” Terry says she will begin her term by establishing a culture of transparency and accountability and by engaging members of the community she first met during her campaign. She said she also wants to get right to work on issues such as public safety, housing, infrastructure and neighborhood revitalization.

During her campaign, Terry said she wanted to shift mental health calls away from the police department. She tells News 8 that Evansville police already have seen a lot of success taking crisis negotiators along with them from Southwestern Behavioral Healthcare. She says she wants to expand the use of that program and explore ways to make it available 24/7.

On housing, she says she plans to convene a blue-ribbon committee of trades, developers and contractors to review what parts of Evansville’s development process can be changed to encourage development more affordable housing.

Terry also said she plans to prioritize code enforcement. She said having clean and safe neighborhoods is essential to neighborhood development. Examples include cracking down on abandoned houses.

“We need to find where there’s opportunities, where there’s low-hanging fruit in terms of enforcement,” she said. “Being sure that we are responsive to issues that are being raised in the neighborhoods and that we are cleaning up where we can.”

:All INdiana Politics” will air at 9:30 a.m. Sunday.