WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI)—Zachary Baiel is joining the race for mayor with hopes you'll join the conversation.
"You know, I see this as an opportunity to have that dialogue and discourse," said Baiel. He has been speaking up at public meetings since moving to West Lafayette in 2001.
"We call him a constant commenter on what we do and I think that's great," said Mayor John Dennis.
News 18 asked Dennis if an opponent makes the election more fun for him.
"If somebody tells you it's fun, they're weird," said Dennis. "I mean it is kind of a drag, you really have to kind of go through an entire protocol."
However, Dennis is willing and understands it is necessary to serve.
"It is an elected position, you know you're only guaranteed each term as you earn it," said Dennis.
Both candidates said they're open to debate but Dennis has stipulations.
"I don't necessarily want to get involved in some free for all mudslinging contest," said Dennis. "But if it's structured through one of the bodies that normally do debates? Sure. Why not?"
"It would be great to be the most transparent and accessible municipal entity in the state of Indiana," said Baiel.
You can count on Baiel to campaign on more convenience in government transparency. He wants the public to be able to have access to all public documents online. As President of the Indiana Coalition for Open Government, this is his priority but he wants to know what others think.
"What is important to you? What do you want me to talk about?" asked Baiel.
He needs 241 signatures from people who live in West Lafayette in order to get on the November ballot. He has until July 1 to get the names.
"We're about at 30 right now," said Baiel.
He knows he's going to have to work to win. He's originally from Illinois but he's taking on a lifelong local who has been Mayor for 12 years.
"I'm a west side guy, I've always been a west side guy and I take great pride in being a west side guy," said Mayor Dennis.
Baiel thinks it's time to mix things up and get more voters to the polls this November.
"You look online and everybody is talking about 2020 but 2019 is now and there is an election," said Baiel. "Sure, it may not be big in sense of the national stage but there is a lot going on locally and local is where it all happens."