2023 Bloomington mayoral primary: Kerry Thomson

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

Kerry Thomson

There is no Republican running in the primary for mayor.

Thomson is director of Indiana University’s Center for Rural Engagement (CFRE) where she earned a salary of $185,000 in 2022.

The CFRE is described on its website like this: “We bring together people, research, cultural assets, and expertise to improve quality of life and address rural challenges, from addiction to the arts.”

Before she took the job at CFRE in November 2018, Thomson served as CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Monroe County for 20 years.

Thomson’s filed candidate’s statement of economic interests lists Babak Seradjeh as her spouse. He’s a professor of physics at Indiana University.

Thomson is the owner of a sole proprietorship called Building Communities that Matter, which provides consulting to nonprofits.

Thomson’s campaign website highlights three areas where she thinks Bloomington should start making progress: attainable housing; community safety; and executive leadership.

Thomson says the challenge that attainable housing is supposed to address is rapidly increasing real estate prices that make it hard for lower-income residents to stay in their current homes, and for new arrivals and middle-income residents to find homes inside the city limits that they can afford.

For Thomson, a safe community is one where people care for and protect each other. Her website describes building “dignity and respect for one another.”

Thomson’s campaign website includes several statements that she has released.

On the topic of safety, as it relates to the recent attack on a young Asian woman who was riding a city bus, Thomson says, “We can, and must, improve public safety in our community. Condemnations of racism and thoughts for victims and their families are part of what is necessary, but it cannot stop there.”

Thomson describes executive leadership as “people-first leadership” that “allows us to create and achieve a vision where we can take advantage of the opportunities in front of us.”

A statement that Thomson released in connection with the idea of “people-first” government says that she will, within the first 100 days of office: conduct a public information audit; implement a traveling city hall; and start returning public information requests faster.

Thomson is a graduate of Randolph-Macon Woman’s College in Virginia.

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?

Thomson’s answers: Kerry Thomson League of Women Voter 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 Thomson’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 Nov. 18
Kerry Thomson kicks off campaign for Bloomington mayor: “A public that labels itself ‘progressive’ deserves to see some progress.”

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

2022 June 8
Bloomington mayoral campaign committee formed by Kerry Thomson