During his first State of the City Address, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett said he will push state legislators to expand funding for Marion County’s pre-kindergarten program to "anyone who wants it." In the presentation Wednesday, the former U.S. Attorney also announced a new task force that will focus on a comprehensive criminal justice system overhaul, which could include a new Marion County jail. He says big changes are needed to help break the cycle of a "life without."
Hogsett says the shifts in the justice system must involve more than just additional jail space, but also focusing on some of the root causes of the criminal cycle such as mental illness and drug and alcohol addiction.
Hogsett says the foundation for long-term success starts with a robust school system. He says "one of the city’s fundamental priorities" will be to seek more financial support for the city’s pre-k program, which was launched with financial backing from the city and business community. Marion County was one of five statewide participants in a pilot pre-k program funded by the state. It was so popular in Indianapolis, some applicant families were turned away. Vanderburgh County officials are also exploring the concept of expansion. Early childhood education was also a major focus of Hogsett’s predecessor, Greg Ballard, and received bipartisan backing in multiple levels of government.
He used some of the speech to praise the recently-detailed expansion of Salesforce in Indianapolis and the overall success and growth of the technology sector. Hogsett says the Salesforce announcement reflects "a statement that I want the rest of our community, that I want our state and our nation to understand. Clearly and unequivocally: Indianapolis welcome all."
Hogsett also announced an end to a more than 30-year moratorium on streetlights in the city.