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Question from Indianapolis Mayoral Debate on WISH-TV: Addressing food deserts

Hogsett and Shreve: Food deserts (reclip)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Democrat mayor of Indianapolis and a Republican hopeful for the job answered questions, many provided by WISH-TV viewers, during a live, hourlong debate aired Monday night.

Hogsett is seeking a third four-year term as mayor of Indianapolis. Shreve, a businessman who has previously served on the City-County Council, won the Republican primary in May.

Monday night’s presentation was the first one-hour televised debate in an Indianapolis mayoral campaign in nearly 20 years.

The most recent numbers from Indy Food Policy show, as of 2022, that more than 208,000 Indianapolis residents live in a food desert, an area where access to fresh and nutritious food is severely limited.

The deserts have a tremendous impact on health, especially that of children. What is the plan to help get more people access to fresh, nutritious food over the next four years?

Neither candidate believes building new brick-and-mortar stores is the sole answer.

Hogsett says his administration has been “nimble and creative” in addressing the food deserts with new locations, transportation, and other initiatives.

Shreve says the challenge is broad, and should also include “pharmacy deserts.” He supports repurposing many former retail sites, such as abandoned drugstores, with redevelopment incentives for underserved areas.