Southern Indiana

A sitting New Albany City Council member is looking to make the transition to county politics.

At-large council member Al Knable will run for Shawn Carruthers’ seat on the Floyd County Commissioners. On Thursday, Carruthers announced a bid for the Indiana General Assembly to replace outgoing State Sen. Ron Grooms, who won’t seek reelection next year.

Knable, a Republican, said his decision was not a reaction to Carruthers’ announcement, and that he first put the plan into motion in March.

“It’s actually something that I’ve had great interest in serving in this capacity since I was a young man,” Knable said. “Growing up, two of my uncles were commissioners. So it’s something that’s always intrigued me and kind of been in the DNA a little bit.”

In addition to being an Air Force veteran, Knable serves on a number of local committees, including the Salvation Army Community Advisory Board, the Hosparus Community Advisory Board and the Emergency Food and Shelter Program community board. He’s also been practicing medicine in New Albany as a dermatologist for more than 20 years.

As a politician, Knable was elected to an at-large seat on the New Albany City Council in 2015, and served as the board’s president in 2018.

But with just three of the council’s nine members being Republicans, Knable said his party has little power. That’s one of the reasons he’s eyeing a move to the GOP-controlled Floyd County government.

“I look at it as an opportunity to represent, even serve our Southern Indiana community on a larger scale,” he said. “I’m proud of the things that I’ve been able to do in the city. But as someone in the minority party in the city, there have been some obstacles in trying to get things done as smoothly as I would like to have done so.”

Knable said he has no intention of resigning his city council seat. His second term ends in 2023, meaning he can remain on the council even if he loses his 2022 commissioner bid. If Knable wins, the Floyd County Republican Party will caucus in a new city council member to finish his term.

Knable said if he’s elected to the board of commissioners, he could help improve the relationship between the New Albany and Floyd County governments.

“I’m very willing and able to make sure that the county commissioners have more direct communication to the county council, and that the county elected representatives also have greater communication with the city elected officials, which right now is not the greatest it’s ever been,” Knable said. “That means inviting people to the table, that means preparing the table, and that means letting them know that they’ll be respected when they’re at the table.”

Knable said, as a commissioner, he’d focus on infrastructure, smart development, and elevating the voices of residents who live in the “fringe” areas of Floyd County, on the border of the city limits.

John Boyle covers southern Indiana communities and health for WFPL News. He is a Report for America Corps member.