Longtime advocate keeps fighting for the people
By Ron Wynn
Jocelyn-Tandy Adande has been involved in both activism and politics for over five decades. She's held numerous positions over that time. These include being a court monitor for the NAACP, a Minority Affairs Advisor to the County Sheriff, a ward and a vice ward chair, and an election commissioner. She's also among the rare Black faces running for office as a Republican, having recently run for Mayor of Indianapolis in the GOP primary.
"The present day Democratic Party has too many things on its platform that I cannot support," Adande said during a recent lengthy interview. "They are backing Gay marriage and abortion and many other positions that I cannot support. Politically, they don't have any real interest in doing anything for Black people. They offer a lot of rhetoric and try to make you think that they care about issues, but they truly don't."
Adande called herself "the most qualified candidate for mayor running in the primary." "None of these other candidates have the range of experience or the knowledge that I have regarding politics," she continued. "They are only interested in using the mayor's office to funnel funds into these businesses that their cronies control. I'm interested in doing things for the people. That's my campaign agenda. There's also no one in either party who is willing to stand up and talk about the real issues in this campaign."
Adande is an advocate for an open primary. Currently Indiana law only allows Republicans to vote for Republicans in primaries and Democrats for Democrats, while other states permit voters to cross party lines during primary elections.
"They want to keep the primary system the way it is because the Democrats want people voting straight tickets. They don't even care if you know the names of the candidates. They make no attempts to get out to the people until it's election time and then they show up and make a few speeches, only to disappear until the next election. It's time to stop that stuff, and it's time for the Mayor's office to be open to people rather than just a handful of politicians and lobbyists."
Adande also maintains that she's been subjected to a double standard in terms of coverage and presentation, one that doesn't take her seriously on two fronts: racial and sexual. "I've experienced this double standard where they label me as a "perennial candidate," rather than as someone who's been working in politics and on behalf of people for decades. I've worked with all kinds of people across the city and region. I've been a mortgage broker now for 10 years, and I know what it's like for people who are struggling to make a living and raise a family."
She has no kind words for the outgoing administration of Mayor Ballard either, saying that "He's lousy. He's lucky he hasn't been indicted. He doesn't give me any credit for the work I did on his behalf, but I'm used to that. It's a sad thing to see so many people who are fooled by the Democrats, when all you've really got there is a bunch of folks who are only concerned with themselves and what they can get for themselves."
Adande is outspoken about the issue of police misconduct, one she says is being ignored by Democratic politicians. "Cops are killing people," she added. "When Blacks are involved in crimes you see their faces plastered all over the place, but there's been a rash of these killings and there's no labeling involved there and often you don't even see who's doing it."
While the Democratic Party has decried voter ID laws, Adande says that is a smokescreen. "All this talk about voter ID, well you have to have ID to have a license. You have to have ID to do pretty much anything in this society today, yet they want to complain about voter ID laws and talk about Civil Rights. Don't talk to me about Civil Rights. I participated in Civil Rights marches, I've been involved in Civil Rights demonstrations and efforts my entire professional life. That's nothing but rhetoric from people who want to keep Black people all lumped under one party and believing the same old stuff."
"The white candidates have been switching tickets for years when it suited them, but when I did it, they wanted to attack me and call me names. There's weak leadership in both parties, yet when I've run, they've always found reasons to attack me and dismiss what I'm trying to do. But I'm determined to keep fighting on behalf of the people. They're the reason I got into politics and why I entered this Republican Mayoral race."
"It's time that the city had someone in office who's more interested in helping people than helping their friends. I plan to have an open and transparent administration, one that welcomes input from citizens, and one that's determined to win people's support by being honest and open with them rather than just saying what they want to hear."
(Adande finished a very respectable second in the GOP race, getting 9% of the vote. Part 2 will look at her plans for the future).