Republican Brian Grove is seeking re-election to a second term representing District 1 on the city council, and is facing a challenge from Democrat Will Drews in the Nov. 5 election.
Drews, a natural resource specialist, has worked for the Knox County Soil and Water Conservation District since moving to Vincennes in June of 2016. Originally from Lafayette, he received a degree in biology at Wabash College in Crawfordsville then completed a master’s degree in environmental science at Indiana University in Bloomington.
Grove is a Vincennes native and graduate of Lincoln High School. He completed the surgical technology program at Vincennes University and worked at Good Samaritan Hospital for 25 years. Now he owns his own glass repair and replacement business business, Auto Glass Express, located at 308 N. 19th St.
Both candidates say they want to help continue the good work that’s being done in Vincennes, but also to potentially grow the city by attracting new residents.
Drews said he already had an appetite to get more involved in his community, and after a few people encouraged him to run for the District 1 seat, he realized it was an excellent way to be involved in issues that matter to the city while also serving his community.
Grove said the last three-and-a-half years on the council have been an amazing experience for him. He’s seeking re-election to continue representing the wishes of his constituents.
“I truly enjoy being a representative of the people, and I have sometimes voted against my own personal opinion about an issue because I knew it was the will of the majority of the people who elected me,” he said.
Grove says he offers an open door to his district’s residents, many of whom visit him at his business to ask for help with city-related issues.
“I don’t always tell people what they want to hear, but I’m always happy to talk with people,” he said.
Besides his people skills, Grove says running a successful business for more than 15 years has given him solid budgeting abilities.
His primary campaign platform is similar to the one he chose for his 2015 race. Grove laughs as he says, “Yeah, I’m kind of a broken record about sidewalk issues.”
“Walkability of a city is not just for the leisure walker,” he says. “Kids walk to school in the grass or on crumbling sidewalks. And there are many people in our community who have to walk to work. Not everyone can afford a car.
“As a city we should provide them a decent path to walk.”
Drews says his role as natural resource specialist has afforded him several opportunities to work alongside various arms of city government and feels becoming a city councilman will be a natural fit.
If Grove is the “broken record about sidewalks,” Drews laughs and identifies himself as “the tree guy.”
His primary platform, Drews said, is to “enhance the overall quality of life for residents of Vincennes,” and part of that comes from enforcing the city’s landscape ordinance and improving the city’s tree canopy.
“This is something I’m passionate about and deal with professionally,” he said.
For Drews this is not “just a green agenda.” He says planting more trees improves the overall quality of life of a city. Reducing invasive species and adding more trees to public areas impacts the environment, habitats and storm water drainage, he said.
“And it’s an easy thing to address that can make the community more beautiful and welcoming,” he said.
Drews says Vincennes has already taken the first step by being the first county in Indiana to pass an invasive species ordinance last August, a project he led.
Potential new businesses look closely, he said, at the quality of life offered there, and part of that is ample green space. Drews is appreciative of the vast road and sidewalk improvements made by the city recently, but if elected he would like to ensure these future projects allow for not only sidewalk and road improvements, but room for tree growth as well.
“This will make the new sidewalks more pedestrian and bike-friendly,” he said. “It’s always better to walk under the shade of a tree canopy in the midst of blistering, humid weather.”