2023 Bloomington mayoral primary: Don Griffin

Don Griffin is one of three candidates who are running for the Democratic Party’s nomination for mayor of Bloomington. The other two are Susan Sandberg and Kerry Thomson.

Don Griffin

There is no Republican running in the primary for mayor.

Griffin’s campaign launch party was held at the offices of Griffin Realty Holdings, Inc. which he founded in 2003, and still owns and directs.

Griffin served as deputy mayor of Bloomington from late April of 2021 until the end of 2022, when he resigned to run for mayor. As deputy mayor in 2022 he earned $116,000.

The organizational chart for the city of Bloomington under mayor John Hamilton’s administration has the 16 department heads reporting to the deputy mayor.

Griffin’s filed candidate’s statement of economic interests lists Nicole Griffin as his spouse. She is director of Indiana University’s visitor information center.

Griffin’s campaign has four points under the general catch-phrase of “Believe in Bloomington”: sustainability; diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility, and belonging; housing; economic and cultural growth.

For Griffin, sustainability means growth in the context of the climate crisis. Griffin calls for policies that consider social, environmental and economic impact and lead to resilience.

Griffin says that Bloomington is diverse and welcoming but needs to “take the next step and truly become a community where everyone can belong and where differences are not ignored but celebrated.”

On housing, Griffin wants to set ambitious goals for a range of housing types: affordable, market-rate, and workforce housing.

About economic and cultural growth, Griffin sees Indiana University students as a resource, and says that Bloomington should try to retain “great minds and top talent.” At his campaign launch party, Griffin said he would like to see Bloomington become the “Austin, Texas of the midwest.”

When he was appointed deputy mayor, Griffin was serving as a member of Bloomington’s redevelopment commission, a position he resigned when he was appointed as deputy mayor.

Griffin’s current and past board appointments include: Indiana University Eskenazi Museum of Art, the Monroe County History Center, The Project School, Habitat for Humanity of Monroe County, Lotus World Music Festival, and the Bloomington Board of Realtors.

Awards listed in the city’s 2021 news release that appointed Griffin deputy mayor include the Indiana University Bicentennial Award (2020), the Bloomington’s Black History Month Visionary Award (2019), and Bloomington’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Legacy Award (2017).

Griffin attended Hampton University in Virginia where he studied architecture and building construction management.

Questions posed for Bloomington mayoral candidates by the League of Women Voters for their Vote 411 profiles are as follows:

1. What role, if any, should the city have in improving mental health and reducing drug dependence, and why?
2. What, if anything, should the city do to increase local affordable housing?
3. Given the recent attack here on a woman of Asian descent, what should be done to ensure that all Bloomington residents, particularly those who have been made vulnerable or marginalized, feel safe in public spaces?
4. Bloomington’s 2021 Climate Action Plan has numerous goals for mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions and adaptation to climate change. What would you do to achieve these multiple goals?
5. How should the city handle the varying traffic needs of bikes, busses, cars, delivery vehicles, pedestrians, and scooters?
6. Is the level of apparent conflict among local government officials a concern for you? If so, what would you do to decrease conflict and increase collaborative problem solving?

Griffin’s answers: Don Griffin LWV Vote 411 Profile

Document Links


Videos of mayoral candidate forums

[CATS video: April 24, 2023 city unions mayoral forum]

[B Square video: April 19, 2023 BEDC mayoral forum]

[CATS video: April 11, 2023 Arts Alliance mayoral forum]

[CATS video: April 10, 2023 Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce mayoral forum]

[CATS video: April 3, 2023 League of Women Voters mayoral forum]

[Excerpt video: April 1, 2023 NOW mayoral forum]

[CATS video: March 30, 2023 council for community accessibility mayoral forum]

[CATS video: March 28, 2023 Heading Home mayoral forum]

Audio recording: March 25, 2023 Alpha Kappa Alpha mayoral candidate forum


B Square coverage of Griffin’s campaign with date of publication

2023 April 7
Column: Sidewalk question deserves more concrete answer from mayoral hopefuls

2023 April 4
Democratic Party’s mayoral candidates talk annexation, encampments, Lower Cascades closing

2023 April 1
Griffin, Sandberg, Thomson speak on social justice as early voting for May 2 mayoral primary looms

2023 March 28
Bloomington mayoral primary forum: Are we scared of being the best at taking care of the less fortunate?

2023 Feb. 22
3 Bloomington mayoral hopefuls speak at first forum

2023 Jan. 19 
2023 election notebook: $190K raised in 2022 by Bloomington mayoral campaigns

2023 Jan. 4
2023 Elections | Day One notebook: 9 file paperwork, including 3 known mayoral candidates

2022 Dec. 16
Don Griffin kicks off campaign for mayor with catchphrase: “Believe in Bloomington”

2022 Dec. 2
Deputy mayor Don Griffin files paperwork to run for mayor of Bloomington in 2023

2022 Nov. 18
Hamilton on a third term as Bloomington mayor: “It’s tempting to run, but I just have decided not to.”