Josh Walker Speaks at Meet the candidates Night Event
Josh Walker Speaks at Meet the candidates Night Event
Josh Walker attended the pre-primary Meet the Candidates Night event hosted by Miller’s Assisted Living in Plymouth, IN on April 2nd, 2019.
Transcript from April 2, 2019
Good evening, and thank you for hosting this event and for your hospitality. I always enjoy having an opportunity to speak with people young and old alike, so this is a great place to be tonight.
I’m running for mayor of Plymouth on the Democrat ticket, but that doesn’t really tell you who I am. I’m going to take a few minutes to do that.
I’m 35 years old, a 101st Airborne combat veteran of the Iraq war, a small business owner here in Plymouth, and a local volunteer. More importantly than that, like some of you in the room, I’m a father and a husband. My wife Amy and my one-year-old daughter Soleil couldn’t be here tonight, though, because it’s Soleil’s bedtime.
It’s time for a change here in Plymouth. It’s time that our city had something new.
It’s time that our small businesses didn’t just go with the status quo just because.
Our families deserve and want to have their voices heard and their needs addressed.
Those kinds of changes don’t just happen overnight and they certainly don’t happen on their own. It takes a person, somebody with proven leadership experience, somebody who has grit, creativity, innovative ideas, and compassion.
Just like it won’t happen on its own or overnight it also won’t happen with just one person.
Just one leader can’t affect change in a city like Plymouth.
It takes much more than that it. Change like this takes a group of supporters and advocates, voters, people who can get behind an idea and see it come through to fruition.
That’s why I’m here tonight. You are that group.
You’re a group of passionate local residents who, in your combined history, have gone and done incredible things that I can’t even begin to fathom through your professional lives, your family lives, and the things that you’ve volunteered to do in the past. Plymouth today wouldn’t be what it is without the things that you have contributed to it, and this is a group with whom I share many similar beliefs and values things – like progress in our city, equal opportunity for all, economic growth, and integrity. These are things that we share as local citizens, residents, and humans.
Just as I believe you’re that group to help make this change possible, I believe I am that person to take the city in the right direction.
I have proven leadership leading troops in combat in southwest Baghdad.
I have proven leadership leading teams of people and small businesses and nonprofits, and I have proven leadership leading volunteers and residents in disaster relief around the globe, most recently here in Plymouth during the flooding last year that hit our city so incredibly hard.
I’m also a board member of PIDCO, and I’m on the Rees Theatre Project Committee. I started Discover Plymouth, a local downtown revitalization nonprofit with a group of local stakeholders.
But I’m not running because I’ve done those things or because of bullet points on my resume. I’m running because I want to accomplish new things for our city.
Jobs & Local Business
I will work to retain the businesses that we already have, both big and small.
Without small businesses as the backbone of our community, and the blood sweat and tears that people like you have put into this community, the bigger businesses would never move here.
It literally takes a village. It takes everybody, from the mom-and-pop shop selling candy at the Plymouth Farmers Market to a Pretzels, Inc. to provide sustainable jobs and good wages.
As a small business owner, I understand that and I will work hard for small businesses, startups, and larger corporations that are looking to expand into a beautiful, thriving city.
Addressing Brain Drain
I will also work to address the issue of rural brain drain. You may have children or grandchildren who have left Plymouth and never returned after finishing college.
My wife and I left Plymouth years ago and wound up moving five times in six years for my job. In the end, we chose to move back to Plymouth and invest in our community.
I remember driving through downtown seeing some of the empty storefronts. I could have complained about that issue, but one of the things that we learned in the Army was you can’t complain unless you have a solution. Don’t open your mouth unless you’re willing to bring an idea to the table and see if it works, and don’t be afraid to fail. Looking back, issues like that are what contributed to my eventual journey to run for mayor.
Young people, who are the future of Plymouth, are leaving our community to go to college. That is an incredibly valuable experience and one I highly recommend. I’ve done it, and many of you have left and returned. Or you’ve had children who’ve left Plymouth.
We need these young people to return to Plymouth with their experience and their ideas, with their willingness to put in the work and volunteer, start new businesses, serve on boards, and give back to the community that raised them and invested in them.
When I talk about rural brain drain, I’m talking about people like me, and people younger than me, who leave and never come back because they think the grass is greener on the other side. It’s really not, and we know that because we live here.
I will work hard to make sure that Plymouth is not only a great place to raise a family, but it’s a great place to grow up, leave to gain valuable experience, and return to raise their own family.
Transparency & Accountability
I’ll also work to make sure that we have policies at every level of the city government to ensure transparency and accountability to make sure that voters like you know exactly what’s going on in every local elected office. The more people I talk with, I’m discovering they don’t fully understand how local government works or how to have a problem resolved.
I want to ensure we have the tools in place so every citizen and resident has access to the information they need to make informed decisions. So when it comes time to vote, they know who they’re voting for, and why.
It’s good for our elected officials, and if I’m elected mayor, it’s good for me to be held accountable.
Those are some of the reasons I’m running for mayor of Plymouth. I would be happy to sit down with you and answer a few more questions if you’d like.
My name is Josh Walker, I’m running for mayor of Plymouth, and I would greatly appreciate your vote.