Drew Hastings and Pam Limes are from roughly the same generation, and both profess their love for Hillsboro and a desire to make it a better place to live. Beyond that, there are few similarities between the two candidates for mayor of Hillsboro.
The Times-Gazette today presents profiles of each candidate based on their answers to questionnaires provided by the newspaper. On Friday, The Times-Gazette will also present guest columns from each candidate as well as video presentations they are supplying, both of which are designed to allow Hastings and Limes to speak directly to voters in their own words.
Hastings, a Republican, is finishing his first term as mayor, a period during which he shook up the status quo in a number of ways, most visibly by his proposal – eventually successful – to disband Hillsboro Fire & Rescue in favor of a contract with the Paint Creek Joint EMS/Fire District. Hastings has said the move has saved hundreds of thousands of dollars and allowed the city to focus on completing other projects, such as street pavings and hiring more officers at the police department.
Like Hastings before her, Limes, a Democrat, is a political newcomer, never seeking or holding public office until now. She was among the most active opponents of Hastings’ plans for fire coverage and fought to maintain Hillsboro’s own fire department. She says now that the fight is over and she hopes Paint Creek is successful, but many of her supporters are likely still motivated by their opposition to the mayor’s actions on fire coverage. Whether Hastings’ decisions on fire coverage helps him or hurts him with voters will be reflected at the polls once and for all.
Limes turned down an invitation from The Times-Gazette to participate in a one-on-one debate with Hastings, saying, “To get my message out to voters, I have other avenues that work best for me and that is what I plan to do.” There are no debates scheduled, and whether that decision will hurt Limes’ chances will only be known on election night.
The yard sign war is in full force across the city and even beyond Hillsboro’s boundaries, with Hastings’ white-on-blue signs competing with Limes’ white-on-green signs for yard (and in some cases, right-of-way) space. Early voting started Tuesday, and with a month to go before Election Day, both the candidates and their supporters have been canvassing neighborhoods in search of votes.
Even though Republicans make up the majority of partisan voters in Hillsboro, the city has readily elected Democrats in the recent past, including Betty Bishop and Dick Zink – both of whom are supporting Limes in this election. When it comes to city politics, the results have often been unpredictable regardless of party affiliation.
In the candidate profiles presented today, Hastings defends his decision on fire coverage, takes pride in the establishment of a building department and the city’s emphasis on code enforcement, notes improvements to streets, sewer systems and recordkeeping, advocates for an uptown plaza, and says the city’s finances are in better shape, positioning Hillsboro to reap the benefits of economic development, compared to when he took office.
Limes says she does not believe the savings from the fire department change have been what were promised, says the mayor has not fulfilled promises about job creation, opposes building an uptown plaza until more businesses locate here, and promises to do more to develop camaraderie and teamwork while treating everyone with respect.
We appreciate both Pam Limes and Drew Hastings for participating in The Times-Gazette’s questionnaire, guest columns and video presentations, and we encourage voters to compare the candidates, their philosophies and their vision for the future in order to make informed decisions in this important election.
Reach Gary Abernathy at 937-393-3456 or on Twitter @abernathygary.