Jonathan Weinzapfel

Jonathan Weinzapfel (born November 16, 1965) was the 33rd mayor of Evansville, Indiana. He was elected in November 2003 and again in 2007. He did not run for a third term in office, and was succeeded by Lloyd Winnecke. He is a member of the Democratic party.

Early Life

Born to Ralph and Sylvia Weinzapfel in Evansville, Jonathan Weinzapfel’s father is currently a member of the Posey County Council and his mother, Sylvia, is Executive Director of the YWCA in Evansville. He graduated from Reitz Memorial High School in 1984 and attended Indiana University Bloomington where he received a Bachelor’s degree in chemistry. He earned his Master’s degree from Georgetown University and his law degree from the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law. When not in public service, Weinzapfel is an attorney and an adjunct professor at the University of Southern Indiana.

Political Career

Congressional run

In 1996 Weinzapfel ran for the United States House of Representatives in the 8th District of Indiana. He was defeated in a close race by one-term incumbent John Hostettler after narrowly defeating (1%) State Representative Rick McConnell of Princeton, Indiana. In the primary, Weinzapfel carried the more liberal parts of Monroe and Vanderburgh Counties, while McConnell won more conservative parts of the 8th District.

Indiana House of Representatives

Weinzapfel went on to serve five years in the Indiana House of Representatives for District 76. In this capacity he served as the Chairman of the Courts and Criminal Code Committee, the Environmental Affairs Committee and the Environmental Quality Service Council.

He also served on the Financial Institutions, the Judiciary and the Public Health Committees. His accomplishments include helping to found the Southwestern Indiana Regional Development Commission. He served as the first president of the group. The Commission is representative of Gibson, Posey, Vanderburgh and Warrick counties in order to promote economic development and to improve the quality of life in Southern Indiana.

Mayor of Evansville

His first term as Evansville Mayor began on January 1, 2004. In office, Mayor Weinzapfel focused on creating jobs and revitalizing downtown, primarily through the successful construction of the Ford Center, a multi-use indoor arena in with a maximum seating capacity of 11,000. He also started the Evansville Education Roundtable to provide a community-wide dialogue on improving education and has built a collaborative style of decision-making through his “Traveling City Hall” program.

In the 2008 Presidential Campaign he endorsed Barack Obama.

During his last year as Mayor, he oversaw an implementation of an overhaul of the City’s accounting information system. An audit of his last year as mayor revealed significant problems with that implementation and the auditors issued a Disclaimer of Opinion.

Gubernatorial run

Due to his popularity in a politically competitive part of the state, there was some speculation of Weinzapfel running for governor in 2008 against incumbent Mitch Daniels and in 2012 when it was an open seat. He did not, however, enter either race. There has also been speculation that he may run in 2016.

Personal

He lives near the University of Evansville. He is married to Patricia; they have three children: Nathaniel, Benjamin, and Eleanor. Patricia Weinzapfel is a former reporter for WFIE Channel 14 Evansville.

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