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WRTV sits down with Carmel Mayoral candidates ahead of Election Day

Carmel voters will elect a new mayor for the first time in 28 years
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Miles Nelson
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Posted at 2:24 PM, Nov 02, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-02 20:22:23-04

CARMEL — For the first time in 28 years, Carmel voters will elect a new mayor to lead the city. After 7 terms, Mayor Jim Brainard is not seeking re-election.

Voters will see two candidates on the ballot: Republican Sue Finkam and Democrat Miles Nelson.

Both candidates are current Carmel City Councilors. WRTV asked them why they are now running for Mayor of Carmel.

"Well, the opportunity to follow Jim Brainard and his amazing leadership here is an honor," Sue Finkam said. "I believe my business background of 30 years of advocating for people and building businesses was a really good match to where he's left off with our community."

"The city has been phenomenal for my family, we've raised kids, we've built careers we've made friends, Carmel is our forever home," Miles Nelson said. "I want to keep it a wonderful place to live. Mayor Brainard has been my mentor, my friend, and I just want to continue his legacy."


Councilor Finkam describes herself as a community leader, business executive, mom and wife. She currently works in health care marketing.

"I know what we do, saves lives and makes people feel better and healthier," Finkam said. "So I can translate my also long time experience working in the non-profit sector, to running a city because it's a lot like the same as people serving people."

Councilor Nelson describes himself as a community leader, volunteer, father, husband and an entrepreneur.

Miles Nelson
August 15, 2023; (Photo by Matt Cashore)

"I've started, managed, and sold two successful companies," Nelson said. "Now I own a company called AOI and I do executive research. I get hired by companies to find their senior leadership," Nelson said.

Miles Nelson and family

Both candidates outlined their top priorities.

Nelson is focusing on quality of life and infrastructure.

"We love the things that we have here. So taking care of our world class amenities, while keeping our taxes low," Nelson said. "We have grown tremendously over the 28 years Mayor Brainard has been mayor. We have gone from 20,000 to now 102,000 people, we need to make sure that our infrastructure from our moving water, moving waste, but also our fiber optic network needs to be top class. That's how we attract businesses."

Finkam's top priorities include crime prevention and development.

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"Unfortunately, Indianapolis has an out of control crime problem and we're seeing increases across the board here in Carmel, causing increased expenses, increased risk for our population, not only our residents, but also those who are city employees," Finkam said. "We're also talking about smart development, making sure that we really listen to our community about what they want with the community moving forward, protecting affordable places that we already have in, in the community."

In addition, Nelson says he wants to continue attracting businesses both large and small to Carmel, protect first responders and defend Carmel schools.

"I also want to make sure that we attract talent and retain our kids that are graduating from college," Nelson said. "We create a welcoming community that no matter your skin color, who you love, your religious beliefs, your socio economic background, or your age that this is a city that wants you to be here, build a career, raise a family and retire."

Finkam also outlined her focus on fiscal excellence and making sure Carmel is smart when it comes to spending.

"Our seniors are really concerned about the ability to stay in their homes. When we're talking about increasing rising, assessed values, even though we're keeping our tax rate flat, that is causing some distress to some of our members of the community," Finkam said. "As well as just making sure we're smart about how we spend that every dollar has a name."

Carmel currently has two locations open for early voting. On Election day, November 7, voters can cast their ballots at their assigned polling locations.

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There is a third person hoping to get elected for Carmel mayor. WRTV sat down with write in candidate Darin Johnson. You can watch part of his interview below.

Interview with Carmel Mayoral candidate Darin Johnson