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Ask The Mayor: Kokomo's Goodnight On GM Strike, Vaping Bans

Mayor Greg Goodnight

Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight (Joe Hren, WFIU/WTIU News)

An update on Monday night's deadly shooting, the role of a Union President during a strike, IU Kokomo seeing record enrollment, and the mayor's last three months on the job.

On this week’s installment of Ask The Mayor, Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight addresses these issues and more. Listen to the full conversation with Indiana Newsdesk anchor Joe Hren by clicking on the play button above, or read some of the questions and answers below. A portion of this segment airs 6:45 and 8:45 a.m. Wednesday on WFIU.

This conversation has been edited for clarity and conciseness.

Hren: Any updates on Monday night's shooting that left one dead downtown?

Goodnight: I just received some information that the investigation is still ongoing, it's limited, but yeah we did have a young person shot, I think they were 19 about 11:30 last night.

Kokomo GM employees on strke
Cars honk as they pass the Kokomo GM strike. (Joe Hren, WFIU/WTIU News)

Hren: Other big news is the GM strike that includes a plant here, tell us a little about the Kokomo plant and what are you hearing about negotiations?

Goodnight: We have about 330 hourly employees UAW members here in Kokomo and there's another 100 or so management personnel. At one time that plant had over 12,000 employees here in Kokomo at various locations. But it's still a large employer here in Kokomo and we're watching it.

They pattern bargain with the UAW, so the whole idea is they reach an agreement with General Motors, and then they use that to pattern with Ford and Chrysler to have similar contracts. So what's going on there at GM will impact both the Ford and the FCA negotiations.

Hren: You may have heard Attorney General Curtis Hill wants to accept Purdue Pharma’s tentative settlement in the class action lawsuit to get a share of the billions of dollars to funnel toward beating the opioid epidemic, are you on board with him?

Goodnight: Maybe, I'd like to see the terms and conditions. Obviously it's important we don't want to wait two, three, four years for a perfect settlement so we can put those resources to good use. So, we're watching it. We were one of the first cities in Indiana to file the lawsuit and so the fact that some of these pharmaceutical companies are looking to resolve it now, I think that's a good sign.

A stock image of a man using an e-cigarette.

Hren: We've been doing some reporting on ecigs and vaping bans, and recently talked with Mayor Lienhoop in Columbus about it, but Kokomo is covered under its smoking ordinance?

Goodnight: Our ordinance bans it in public places, just like smoking and it's pretty stringent and ecigs are included in that. And you're right, we are seeing a lot of health concerns and keep in mind, this is coming up in a very short period. Ecigs haven't been around for decades and decades. So the impact it's having on people is coming along very quickly.

Hren: You have three months left in office, what are some of the loose ends your trying to tie up?

Goodnight: Yeah we are, we're trying to make sure things we started we're trying to get them completed. We also want to make sure we stabilize a lot of the things that have been in the pipeline the last couple of years, like the parking garage, and make sure those things are signed, sealed, and taken care of. It's bittersweet, but we made a lot of changes.

The things I hear most often of people coming back, the compliments and the surprises they see and how the city has evolved and that's always nice to hear.

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