Leading National Smoke-Free Advocacy Group Endorses Melina Kennedy for Indianapolis Mayor

Oct 05, 2011, 06:15 ET from Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights

Election Offers Clear Choice: Kennedy's Strong, Consistent Stance Vs. Ballard's Broken Campaign Promise

INDIANAPOLIS, Oct. 5, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights, a national advocacy organization that supports 100% smoke-free workplaces, today endorsed Melina Kennedy in the race for Mayor of Indianapolis.  

"There is a clear choice in this election," said ANR Executive Director Cynthia Hallett, "on the one side stands Melina Kennedy, who has been a strong, reliable champion for making workplaces, including bars, smoke-free.  On the other side stands Mayor Greg Ballard, who broke a written promise to support legislation to make all workplaces smoke-free."

In 2007, as a candidate for mayor, Ballard wrote to Indianapolis businessman Bruce Hetrick: "I can assure you that I am a supporter of the smoke-free workplace. Secondhand smoke is a proven health hazard, and I would support any legislation to limit the impact of secondhand smoke."

"Not only did he renege on that promise," said Hallett, "but also, when the City-County Council was considering a comprehensive smoke-free workplace proposal in 2009, Mayor Ballard actually urged council members in a closed-door meeting to defeat that proposal. He also threatened to veto the ordinance if it were adopted by the council."

While Ballard was breaking his campaign promise by opposing the 2009 ordinance, Melina Kennedy was publicly supporting it.  

In an op-ed for The Indianapolis Star, Kennedy said that smoke-free air is not only good for the health of Indianapolis workers, but it also promotes economic development and improves the quality of life.

"As a former deputy mayor for economic development, I have seen first hand how efforts aimed at making Indianapolis a healthier city help attract new businesses and new jobs to the city," said Kennedy. "Companies understand that a healthier city means lower health-care costs and less time away from work. Along with other quality-of-life initiatives, it also puts us on a list of increasingly progressive cities where talented people want to stay and work. Given this, it is easy to understand why many local businesses and the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce support the ordinance. In a struggling economy, a proposal that will make Indianapolis a better competitor in the fight for jobs merits support."  ("Make City's Future Brighter by Clearing the Smoke," Melina Kennedy, My View, The Indianapolis Star, September 17, 2010.)

As a mayoral candidate, Kennedy has reiterated her support for a smoke-free Indianapolis. In an August 2011 letter to campaign supporters she said, "This is not only a health issue, but also an economic development issue. The longer we wait to pass a comprehensive smoking ban, the further we fall behind the more than 600 cities that already have one in place. To me this is just not acceptable. Indeed, we should already be providing a smoke-free environment for our workers and families who live in Indianapolis. And we should offer a smoke-free city for out of town visitors who expect such an environment when they attend world-class events in a world-class city." (http://www.melinakennedy.com/news/69)

Today, October 5, 2011, marks the two-year anniversary of the introduction of the 2009 comprehensive smoke-free ordinance. Because Mayor Ballard chose to break his promise and act, instead, as a roadblock to that legislation, Indianapolis workers and the public have been exposed for far too long to the serious health risks caused by secondhand smoke in workplaces such as bars, bowling centers, and clubs.

Because Melina Kennedy has been a solid, committed supporter of giving every Indianapolis worker the same right to a smoke-free workplace, ANR proudly endorses her candidacy for Mayor. Kennedy clearly understands that no one should have to choose between their paycheck and their health. Melina Kennedy stands firmly behind the courage of her convictions and Indianapolis workers. Residents and visitors alike will be best served by Kennedy's strong leadership to take Indianapolis into the next four years.  

Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights is a member-based 501 (c) 4  national lobbying organization, dedicated to nonsmokers' rights, taking on the tobacco industry at all levels of government, protecting nonsmokers from exposure to secondhand smoke, and preventing tobacco addiction among youth. ANR pursues an action-oriented program of policy and legislation. Learn more at www.no-smoke.org

SOURCE Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights