UPDATED WITH INFORMATION ON OLGEN WILLIAMS WITHDRAWAL FROM RACE: Twenty-six hours after appearing on WTLC-AM1310 The Light’s Afternoons with Amos to discuss his race for Indianapolis Mayor, Deputy Mayor Olgen did an about face and withdrew from the race. Amos Brown broke the news on Twitter.
Then Olgen Williams announced it.
Here’s the Text of Olgen Williams Statement: “Over the past three weeks I have been overwhelmed and humbled by the outpouring of support from hundreds upon hundreds of individuals while exploring the potential to run for Mayor of our great city. After much prayer and consideration, my wife Mary, along with our family have decided not to enter into the upcoming Mayoral race. I look forward to continuing working with our amazing team to improve our city by strengthening our neighborhoods, increasing economic development opportunities for all, bringing jobs to our city, and ensuring that children have an opportunity to the best education available. It has been a pleasure to serve the residents of Indianapolis as Deputy Mayor for the last seven years under Mayor Ballard, and I am looking forward to serving out the remainder of my appointment and finishing the great work we started.”
The news will put pressure on slated Republican candidate Chuck Brewer to begin to be visible in the African-American community, that he’s pointedly ignored since launching his campaign right after Williams’ first announcement. Olgen Williams’ announcement will energize Jocelyn Tandy-Adande who was the first to announce she’s running for Mayor back in early January. The news also puts the spotlight back on Rev. Charles Harrison who was planning to run as an independent, but temporarily halted his campaign when Williams announced he was running.
Olgen Williams launched his campaign on the Dr. Martin Luther King Day, Monday January 19th. Only once before has a former Indianapolis Deputy Mayor run for the top job (Melina Kennedy in 2007). Olgen Williams, the current Deputy Mayor in the Ballard Administration is running to succeed his boss, Mayor Greg Ballard. Williams has served as Deputy Mayor for over seven years. He’s the longest serving Deputy Mayor and top official of the Ballard Administration. Olgen Williams has been a resident of Indianapolis since age 12 (1961) and brings a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences to the Mayor’s race, including serving as Executive Director of one of Indianapolis’ oldest community centers – Christamore House. Williams openly admits he turned to crime when he was younger and did time. But Williams credits Jesus Christ with turning his life around, becoming a married father of six, a graduate of Martin University and in his words becoming a “servant/leader” in the community. Olgen Williams strongly feels his experience understanding Indianapolis and its neighborhoods will make him a good successor to Mayor Ballard. On Wednesday of this week, Olgen Williams appeared on Afternoons with Amos and made an impassioned case for this candidacy. But near the end of the interview hedged on whether he would file by the Friday, February 6th deadline. We now the answer. During the interview Williams didn’t get into many specific stands on issues, but in response to a question about whether he could bring Democrats and Republicans on the City-County Council to work together, Olgen Williams said that was he could talk to all sides and keep lines of communication and conversation open. While Williams agreed with the importance of downtown development, he did acknowledge the importance of bringing more jobs and opportunity to Indy’s neighborhoods. Listeners peppered Olgen Williams with questions about ex-offender jobs and re-entry, with crime, with cleaning up and improving the look of neighborhoods, not just the inner city but all over. Williams was also asked about the lack of opportunities for youth and lack of available of youth activities on weekends. Click the Media Player to hear the Afternoons with Amos Interview with Now Former Republican mayoral candidate Olgen Williams. Runs 50 Minutes ©2015 WTLC/Radio One