Bart Peterson: Former Mayor of Indianapolis

The Indianapolis education system wouldn’t be the same without the help of former mayor Bart Peterson. Known in some circles as “the Peyton Manning of Charter Schools,” Bart Peterson enacted legislation during his two terms in office to allow charter schools a place in the Marion County school system for the first time ever. Born on June 15, 1958, Bart Peterson lived in Indianapolis all his life, a born and raised Hoosier who hasn’t left Central Indiana. The former mayor attended North Central High School before moving north to West Lafayette, Indiana to attend Purdue University. After his graduation as a Boilermaker, Peterson earned his law degree from the University of Michigan Law School, which he used to become the Chief of Staff for then-governor Evan Bayh.

Video of a MAI TV interview with Bart Peterson, the former mayor of Indianapolis and a famous Indianapolis person


Interior shot of rabid fans at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis1999 proved to be a big year for Bart Peterson. He ran for mayor of Indy that year, easily defeating Indiana Secretary of State Sue Ann Gilroy by a margin of 11%. Peterson was the first Democratic mayor of Indianapolis since 1967. During his two terms as the mayor of Indianapolis, Bart Peterson did a lot for the city. Aside from the admission of charter schools to the city, this famous Indianapolis person also spearheaded several Indianapolis arts and culture initiatives. He also merged the Indianapolis Police Department with the Marion County Sheriff’s Department, expanded the Indiana Convention Center, brought about a new home for the Indianapolis Colts in Lucas Oil Stadium, and attracted lots of development in downtown Indianapolis, including the Conrad Hotel tower and Simon Property Group headquarters.

Promotional video for the 2007 campaign of former Indianapolis mayor Bart Peterson


In 2007, Bart Peterson lost to current Indianapolis mayor Greg Ballard in a huge upset, narrowly avoiding re-election by a 4% margin. Though Peterson has left the Indianapolis political scene, he hasn’t rested on his laurels. He was hired as a resident fellow at the Harvard University Institute of Politics in 2008, and he currently serves on the board of directors for The Mind Trust, an Indianapolis non-profit organization formed by Peterson in 2006 that promotes entrepreneurship in Indianapolis schools. And in 2009, Peterson got involved in Indianapolis business when he joined the ranks of Eli Lilly and Company as senior vice president of corporate affairs and communications. Despite his 2007 loss, Bart Peterson remains a mayor who irrevocably changed the face of the Circle City, and who continues to do so today.

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