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West Lafayette’s newest councilmember sees mental health as key issue

Ted Hardesty is sworn in at the Thursday pre-council meeting (WBAA News/Ben Thorp)
Ted Hardesty is sworn in at the Thursday pre-council meeting (WBAA News/Ben Thorp)

West Lafayette’s newest city council member has his first official meeting this week.

Fifth-year Purdue student Ted Hardesty was sworn in during a pre-council meeting last Thursday, taking the spot left by recent Purdue graduate Shannon Kang. The seat represents a district primarily made up of Purdue students.

Hardesty was caucused in by the Tippecanoe County Democratic Party. Kang was elected in 2019, sothe seat will not be up for reelection until 2023.

Hardesty said one of the key issues he hopes to work on is student access to mental health services - an area in which he feels Purdue University is failing.

“Any way I can help resources get to those people and make sure people’s voices are heard by people in power,” he said. “Although I have not heard many criticisms of the city council, I have definitely heard many criticisms of Purdue.”

Hardesty said the university doesn’t employ enough counselors - and as a city council member, he hopes he can find other ways to bring students assistance.

“In terms of resources, it would be not having enough counselors, not having the staff necessary to handle the mental health crisis,” he said. “The city council delegates funds and creates ordinances for the Purdue community so I of course want to be here and help as much as I can in that regard.”

Hardesty says he also plans to push West Lafayette to become a greener city. His predecessor, Kang, also led efforts to address climate change as part of the city’s Go Greener Commission.

This week, the city council meets Tuesday.