EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW JUST ADDED: Jose Evans, who two years ago ran as a Democrat for Mayor of Indianapolis, suddenly announced Tuesday that he was switching from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party. In an Exclusive, extended interview on Afternoons with Amos, Evans, who represents City-County Council District 1 on the far northwest side Pike Township, talked extensively about his decision. Evans said he felt that he could more for his district and both the Black and Hispanic communities (he’s has shared ancestry with both communities) as a Republican than a Democrat. In the interview,Evans wouldn’t directly say why he was leaving the party, but talked about a “lack of respect”. Evans also stressed that he felt he could help the party reach out to the minority community. Evans also addressed his call for a moratorium on charter schools and how his becoming a republican to help achieve that goal. But Evans was non committal in saying whether he’d support GOP efforts in the Legislature to sharply restrict the power of the Council. A measure Democrats feel is aimed squarely at restricting their Council majority. Councilman Evans also took calls, including much criticism from listeners and the community. Click Link Below For the Full Interview. Runs 50 Minutes. ©2013 WTLC/Radio One.
Evans, who was first elected to the Council in 2007, announced the switch at a hastily called press conference at the City Market. Marion County Republican officials notified the city’s news media about the press conference, but failed to notify the city’s Black news media, including AM1310TheLight. In a prepared statement obtained by PraiseIndy.com from Democratic Party sources, Evans said his decision to become a Republican was “Not a decision made in haste or without considerable thought.” Evans added that, “When looking around my district, our city, and this state, however, it is clear that Republican policies and Republican leadership are getting things done, and I want to be a part of a Party that is focused on progress.” Jose Evans switch of parties makes him the first Black Republican Council member since Kent Smith resigned three years ago, after being elected to the Council in 2007. Marion County Republican Party Chair Kyle Walker said of Evans’ switch, “Jose is a perfect fit for the Marion County Republican Party. His is a strong voice on issues ranging from public safety to creating jobs to neighborhood revitalization. He is a tremendous addition to our party’s leadership.” Marion County Democratic Chair Joel Miller commented, “While I wish Councillor Evans well in his future endeavors, as with any Republican, I certainly look forward to spirited political campaigns against him in the coming years.” City-County Council President Maggie Lewis said, “Today, Councillor Jose Evans announced his decision to leave the Democratic Party. We thank him for his service and wish him well in his endeavors.” Evans will be facing changing his position on a number of issues. Recently he appeared on Afternoons with Amos expressing concerns about the growth of charter schools in Indianapolis. Evans wanted a temporary halt to charter expansion by Mayor Greg Ballard. Now Evans will be part of a party that wants to expand charters. And a party that’s trying to change state law to prohibit the City-County Council from any oversight of charter schools. In his first election in 2007, Jose Evans beat Republican Bruce Henry by 117 votes. Four years later he won re-election handily by 1,033 votes in a district that had become minority-majority. The controversial and probably illegal Republican redistricting of the Council in late 2011, placed Evans in a district that was now 55% non-minority. Evans ran for the Democratic nomination for Mayor, eventually dropping out before the primary and endorsing Melina Kennedy.