The Carmel Clay Historical Society will host a talk by former Carmel Mayor Jane Reiman at 7 p.m. Feb. 11 in the Carmel Clay Public Library’s program room.
Reiman was elected to Carmel’s first city council in 1975 and served two terms as mayor from 1980 to 1987. She was one of a handful of female mayors in Indiana at the time.
Born in Canada, Reiman moved to Carmel in 1967. She became active in local issues, and her claim to fame was helping to prevent developer Ralph Wilfong from building a parimutuel horse racing track along U.S. 31, where Kohl’s is now located.
Reiman was instrumental in building up infrastructure in Carmel so the city could grow, such as adding lanes to roads, putting in traffic lights and expanding sewer and utilities lines. She began the process to construct City Hall and Carmel Civic Square and encouraged commercial activity near Keystone Avenue.
Remain, now 82, leads the Mayor’s Youth Council and works two days each week in the Dept. of Community Relations and Economic Development. She talked to Current in Carmel about her upcoming talk.
What are you planning to talk about?
I’m not going to be talking about wastewater or infrastructure or roads. I’m going to be talking about some of the day-to-day office life as mayor. I find it’s boring to talk about what we accomplished. It’s going to be a potpourri of short memories that I’ll share at this talk. I won’t just talk about Range Line Road and be boring. I want it to be funny and lighthearted, and of course, I’ll leave time to ask questions.
What kinds of funny stories?
Well, I don’t want to give too much away, but on the second day on my job as mayor we had a snow storm, and I had to fire two employees for drinking on the job.
What was Carmel’s identity back then?
Fastest-growing city in the state. People were flocking to us. The average citizen in Greenwood thought we were all wealthy and the average Hamilton County citizen thought we were all uppity. It’s funny.
Did you ever think you would go into politics growing up?
I grew up in Canada during the second World War, and we would always listen to Winston Churchill on the radio and talk about the issues of the day. The first time I got into politics really was when Barry Goldwater was running for president. I always volunteered. I was always interested in a good candidate, but I never thought if I’d run for everything. (Former town board member) Fred Swift asked me if I’d run at-large in 1975. It was really unusual to have women on anything at that time.
Did you ever encounter sexism on the job?
I only really encountered that one time, and that story I’m saving for the talk. Well, actually, the fire chief said he didn’t want to work for a woman. That’s in my talk, too.
Are you amazed by all the change in Carmel over the last 15 years or so?
I’m not surprised, considering the leadership of Mayor Jim Brainard. But each mayor adds something to the city in different ways.
You’re still working after all these years. Do you ever slow down?
I did. I was down in Corydon for 15 years before I moved back to Carmel in 2009. I’ve appreciated the opportunity to come back and work for the city again. I really love this place.