John Stehr for Mayor: A Vision for Zionsville’s Future

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March/April 2023

When John Stehr retired as the lead anchor for WTHR Indianapolis in 2019 after more than 42 years in broadcasting, he never imagined he would run for office. Shortly after retiring, Stehr joined the Zionsville Parks Board, where fellow board members quickly elected him an officer.

John Stehr for Mayor

“When you’re retired and can stand in the mud to meet with a contractor at 10 o’clock on a Tuesday morning, they make you an officer pretty quickly,” Stehr often jokes with neighbors while he is campaigning. 

As board president, Stehr oversaw the northern and southern Big-4 rail trail expansions and the opening of Overley Worman Park while working to improve park amenities in a fiscally responsible manner. Serving on the Parks Board has given him a unique look inside Zionsville’s government and the challenges it faces.

“There has been a massive breakdown in communications in our town hall. It has hurt Zionsville’s reputation and caused real damage — like the downgrading of our credit rating,” Stehr said. “Poor communication has gotten us into this mess. Good communication will lead us out. I’m a professional communicator, and I have the skillset to help.”

Stehr announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination for Mayor of Zionsville in October 2022. Over the past six months, he has personally visited the homes of more than 3,500 voters, sharing his vision for the town and listening to what they want in their next mayor. 

“Over the course of my career in journalism, I learned something about local leaders. The good ones identify their goals and build a consensus to achieve them,” Stehr said. “It makes sense. You really can’t get anywhere if you don’t know where you’re headed. That’s why I’m running for Zionsville mayor — because I think we can do better at planning the road ahead and creating the Zionsville that we all want to see,” Stehr said. 

Earlier this year Stehr unveiled “Zionsville 2040” —a comprehensive plan for the next 15 years. Stehr’s “Zionsville 2040” includes specific goals in three priority areas: Public Safety, Growth and Economic Development, and Marketing and Communication. 

“I have a vision for Zionsville’s future, one where we restore faith in town government by getting our finances in order, making sure that public safety stays ahead of the rapid growth, and competing for our share of central Indiana’s economic activity while preserving the small-town charm and character that is uniquely Zionsville,” Stehr said. “The goals and priorities outlined in my ‘Zionsville 2040’ plan are how my administration will achieve it.”

In March, Stehr announced that he will appoint longtime local business leader and advocate Kate Swanson as his deputy mayor. He described the unprecedented announcement as a natural extension of the transparency he wants to share with the people of Zionsville.

“Kate is passionate about growing and improving our community both locally and statewide. She is deeply connected in Zionsville. Her experience in both the public and private sectors will make her the perfect partner in moving Zionsville forward.”

Stehr and his wife, Amy, recently celebrated 20 years of marriage (spending their anniversary at the Boone County Women’s Club Candidate Forum). The Stehrs share five children, all of whom grew up in Zionsville. Their youngest is a Junior at Zionsville Community High School

John Stehr for Mayor

“I want to give back to the town that’s given me and my family so much,” Stehr said, “by helping it prosper for our neighbors and their families — and future generations who choose to build a life here.”

You can learn more about John Stehr and his vision for Zionsville by visiting or following the campaign on Facebook and Instagram. The Republican Primary is Tuesday, May 2, 2023. Early voting in person is available beginning Tuesday, April 4. More information about voting can be found at