Meet Aaron Williams: Representing Boone County Council District 4
The passing of Boone County Council’s President Steve Jacob on March 17 left a seat open in Boone County Council’s District 4. Consequently, Zionsville resident Aaron Williams was elected by an April 15 caucus—unanimously—to fill Jacob’s seat on the council. We spoke with Williams about his decision to file for the vacant council seat and how he plans to build upon Jacob’s extraordinary legacy as a leader and champion for Boone County.
Aaron Williams in His Own Words
Born and raised in Indianapolis, Williams shared that he is one of 10 children. His passion for community engagement and politics began at the young age of 16.
“I’m from a large family, and we are very family-oriented,” Williams said. “My family raised us to be part of the solution. I grew up in Haughville on the west side of Indianapolis. I’ve always had a passion to be involved and engaged in my community, no matter where I’ve lived. And I’m still heavily involved in Indianapolis.”
Williams and his family moved to Zionsville nearly five years ago, and Williams wasted no time in getting acquainted with the community and public safety leaders within Zionsville and Boone County.
“I remember when we first moved to Zionsville, I reached out to Josh Garrett, who is a member of the town council, former Mayor Tim Haak, the former chief of police Rob Knox and other [community] leaders,” Williams recalled. “I introduced myself and asked these folks how I could become engaged and involved with the community. I’ve become extremely more active in the last two-and-a-half years and helped form the Boone County Racial Diversity Coalition that was in the works before the George Floyd protests happened last year. I think what happened last year really escalated the need for [the coalition].”
Williams expressed, “I believe that Zionsville is made up of some of the best people in the world with a passion and who ‘have a heart’ for embracing inclusion, diversity, equity and opportunity for people of color and underrepresented, underserved and underprivileged groups and individuals.”
Blazing His Own Path While Honoring His Predecessor
His decision to file for Jacob’s council seat in Boone County District 4 was not made without careful consideration, guidance from his mentors and family and, of course, not without the blessing of Jacob’s son, Jeff Jacob.
“I know the impact that Steve [Jacob] had on so many people,” Williams emphasized. “I’m not coming in to replace Steve. I’m looking to how we can build on the amazing legacy and foundation that he laid and continue that. These are big shoes to fill, and I plan on doing it with humility, an open mind and an open heart.”
When he was approached to consider this office and potentially other political offices later on down the road, Williams said he prayed about it.
“I wanted to make sure God wasn’t telling me loud and clear not to do it,” Williams said. “I talked with my wife and other individuals that I’m close to. I think the level of significance of whose seat I was filling struck me more than had it been any other person, knowing what Steve stood for and what he was about.”
Becoming Another Champion for Boone County
Reflecting on his decision to join the council and represent not only his district but the county as a whole, Williams observed, “It’s easy to sit back and talk about what we need to do better and criticize. But it is much more productive and is extremely gratifying when you become a person to help make the change that you and so many others wish to see.”
When asked what his goals for the county are, Williams replied, “It is the true sentiments of my heart to help make Boone County the best place: the best place to live, work, explore and play. Time Magazine, USA Today, you name it—they come out with a ranking of some sort, “Best Places to Live in America,” etc., and I will tell you that Boone County will be on that list and will lead that list. It’s going to happen, and the way that it’s going to happen is through consistent communication and collaboration. Companies will be knocking on our doors asking how they can become a partner of ours.”
Williams continued, “We’re going to make this a reality by being great fiscal stewards of the taxpayers’ dollars and by being supporters and advocates of our law enforcement entities. We’re going to do it by making sure that our schools are the best of the best ,and we’re going to do it with the help of every Boone County resident that wants to be a part of this solution and part of this amazing transformation that we’re undergoing and are going to ramp up significantly.”
Over the course of his public service, Steve Jacob fostered countless relationships with state and local officials—often bridging the gaps between parties and adversaries for the betterment of all concerned. In that spirit, Williams said that he is committed to learning about those relationships and building upon them as he continues along his path in public service.
“I plan on being one of many champions and plan on taking the relationships that have been established over the last 15-plus years and putting them to good use,” Williams said. “In my new role as a council member, I am asking a lot of questions to get an understanding of where things are and where things stand in our county. I’m going to be putting together a steering committee or co-op of sorts made up of the heads of our county’s respective towns. I’m going to push that we are going to put politics aside. We don’t want politics at the table as a means of trying to get something [pushed] that is politically driven and/or motivated that doesn’t benefit everyone.”
In this committee or co-op, Williams envisions a unified group working together to address the county’s issues at a local and state level.
“If we can have that collective approach, the success of our county will be paramount,” Williams expressed. “Working together works. If we have that mentality, there is nothing that we won’t accomplish. I think, now more than ever, that it is incumbent upon us to be mindful, respectful and considerate of everyone’s ideas and opinions and not get drawn into the despicable behavior that we’ve seen that is causing so much chaos and destruction and prevents us from really becoming great.”
Williams stressed the importance of his role on the county council and his commitment to leading by example for the betterment of his district and the county as a whole.
“I have to lead by being an example,” Williams stated. “I will work to make sure that every town and every community within Boone County is represented, and we’re going to put some formal processes and instructions in place to make sure that happens.”