By Duane Paul Murphy
A Catholic University of America alum is running for local political office to serve his small community. Aaron Smith, class of 2013, officially announced his candidacy on Wednesday, January 23 for city council in Noblesville, Indiana, a small suburban town outside the state capital city of Indianapolis. The city council district he is running in represents the central portion of the town.
“One of the aspects I love most about local government is how close the elected representatives are to the action,” Smith said in a interview with The Tower.
“Potholes, trash collection, taking care of parks, ensuring the climate in our city is attractive for both businesses and people—all of these responsibilities fall to local leaders and have a direct impact on the daily life of me and my neighbors. That’s exhilarating to me.”
Policy priorities for Smith’s city council campaign include enacting a building height limit, assisting with maintain homeownership in the community’s historic downtown, providing free WiFi in communal areas downtown, supporting local small and medium sized businesses, and creating communal gathering areas in the local town square.
“I view the policy priorities I’ve laid out for Noblesville in the same way,” said Smith when asked about the fiscal implementation of these policies.
“I’m really passionate about ensuring that we’re protecting the historic nature of our city, promoting the characteristics that make us unique and planning for the future,” he said. “There are items on the punch list that can be enacted relatively easily and other items that may take longer to process through. In my book, it’s all about prioritization.”
This is not the first time Smith has gotten involved with Indiana’s politics. While attending Catholic University between 2009 and 2013, he interned for former Indiana Congressman Dan Burton, whose district includes Noblesville, in 2011. During the 2012 elections, Smith was a finance intern for Mike Pence’s gubernatorial campaign in Indiana. After graduating in 2013, Smith worked for former Indiana Senator Dan Coats, who is now the U.S. Director of National Intelligence under President Donald Trump, on Capitol Hill.
Smith had some very realistic advice for young people who want to run for any political office.
“I’d encourage everyone to take risks. I think far too often, especially in the era of social media, all of us are too concerned about being perfect,” Smith said.
“I’m the first one to admit that I don’t have it all correct, but I know that I do have an interest in representing my community, a heart to listen to others and the drive to make my community better for those who come after me. At some point, we all have to step out and take the risk. So, while I certainly don’t know the outcome coming my way this election, I’m excited to have the opportunity to share with others in my community what I think it important and how we can best set ourselves up for success going forward.”
Smith is not the only Catholic University alum to become destined for politics. Notable alumni who have been elected or are currently serving in office include Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey, Jr., Maine State Representative Ryan Fecteau, former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, and former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley.
Noblesville will have its municipal elections on November 5, 2019. Local primaries are on May 7th, 2019.