Mayor James “Jim” Brainard is Carmel’s first seven-term mayor. During his tenure, Carmel has experienced tremendous growth and prosperity and is considered one of the fastest growing cities in the United States.
The development of the Arts & Design District, a downtown called City Center, and a new midtown project joining the two together has helped in the creation of a vibrant, thriving, walkable city where companies want to locate, employees want to live, and families want to raise their children.
As part of the City Center project to create a downtown for Carmel, Mayor Brainard incorporated world-class cultural and entertainment venues, including the Center for the Performing Arts, home to the Palladium, a state-of-the-art, 1,600-seat concert hall. Mayor Brainard also has implemented numerous environmental initiatives for the city of Carmel. He has encouraged the construction of roundabouts in place of traditional signaled intersections, reducing emissions and vehicular accidents with injury.
Honored with many awards for its high quality of life and environmental initiatives, Carmel is among Money magazine’s Best Places to Live in America, ranking third in 2014 and first in 2012 for cities with a population of 50,000-300,000. In 2015, Carmel was recognized as Community of the Year by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. The city was awarded first place in the Climate Protection Awards from the U.S. Conference of Mayors for its roundabout program and national runner-up of the Home Depot Awards of Excellence in Community Trees. Carmel has also been the recipient of the Sterling Tree City Award, honorable mention for Municipal Excellence from the National League of Cities, and has been designated a bronze level Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists.
Mayor Brainard’s academic background includes a Bachelor of Arts in history from Butler University and Doctor of Jurisprudence from Ohio Northern University. He also received a diploma from the Oxford Institute on International and Comparative Law from the University of San Diego. His book titled Carmel, ‘round about right shares the story of redevelopment in Carmel during his administration.
Mayor Brainard serves as a trustee and co-chair of the Energy Independence and Climate Protection Task Force for the U.S. Conference of Mayors. In November of 2013, he was appointed to the Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience by President Barack Obama. In 2015, he traveled to four cities in India to represent the United States as part of the U.S. State Department’s speaker’s bureau. Additionally, he has been a guest lecturer at Georgetown University, Butler University, Indiana University, and Purdue University among others. He often speaks to city councils and planning commissions across the United States about city design and development.
Mayor Brainard has served as president of the Butler University Alumni Association, was included in Butler’s “50 Under 50” in 2004 and has served as a trustee of the university. He taught as an adjunct instructor at the University of Indianapolis and was named one of the Most Powerful Hoosiers in the World by Indianapolis Monthly.