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‘UnPHILtered’: Debating upcoming debate of Indianapolis mayoral candidates

UnPHILtered: Debating the Indianapolis mayoral debate

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — It was a fast-moving day at WISH-TV.

First, the announcement: WISH-TV will host the first televised debate of the 2023 Indianapolis mayoral campaign.

Joe Hogsett, the Democratic candidate, and Jefferson Shreve, the Republican candidate, have agreed to a one-hour debate live at 6 p.m. Oct. 23. The debate will be hosted at the WISH-TV studios and air live on WISH-TV,, the station’s Facebook page, and the company’s Statewide Television News Network.

A few hours after the announcement, News 8’s political insiders, Democrat Destiny Wells and Republican Mario Massillmany, joined me for our “UnPhilTered” segment to discuss the upcoming debate and what they want to hear. The conversation quickly turned to crime in the city.

“Mayor Hogsett doesn’t have to make promises of what he should do, he can show you the record of what he has done.” Wells said. “In the last eight years, Mayor Hogsett has hired over 700 police officers. When murder is endemic in urban areas all across the United States, Indianapolis’ murder rate fell 16% last year.”

Massillmany says he wants to hear if Shreve can spell out a better plan for crime in the city. “Armed robberies, burglaries, thefts, rapes, child molest, all have increased in Indianapolis, so there is some serious problems in Indianapolis that need to be impacted.”

The Republican said that ”we need to actually focus, not just talk the talk, but actually walk the walk, and I don’t see Joe Hogsett doing that.”

Hogsett is seeking a third term as mayor of Indianapolis. Shreve, a businessman who has previously served on the City-County Council, won the Republican primary in May. The debate will include a variety that impact Indianapolis with no questions off-limits.

The event will be the first live, hour-long mayoral debate on television in Indianapolis in nearly 20 years.

“Our debate will give the Indianapolis community their opportunity to witness ‘live’ our two mayoral candidates debate the issues that are important to them,” siad DuJuan McCoy, owner, president and CEO of Circle City Broadcasting, the parent company of WISH-TV. “This historic debate is the second time WISH-TV has led the market on major political events, when we were the only TV station to air live the Republican and Democratic state conventions during the pandemic.”

I along with my colleagues, multicultural reporter Katiera Winfrey and I-Team 8 senior investigative reporter Richard Essex, are looking forward to hosting and moderating the debate.

The election will be Nov. 7. Early voting will start Oct. 11.