The Crusader Newspaper Group

Allen begins term as Lake County Commissioner

By Erick Johnson, Gary Crusader

Former Gary City Councilman Kyle W. Allen Sr. on Thursday, February 4 began his first term as Lake County Commissioner, following in the footsteps of his late cousin, Roosevelt D. Allen, whose sudden death in January stunned many in Gary.

Kyle, who served five terms on the Gary City Council, was elected District 1 Commissioner after taking a majority of the votes during the first round of a caucus of precinct committeemen on Wednesday, February 3.

Sheriff John Buncich, the Lake County Democratic Central Committee chair, said Allen received more than the required 50 percent of votes needed in the first round to win the seat. There were a total of 144 committeemen present of the 190 eligible to vote. The final tally will be maintained at party headquarters.

District 1 includes a large portion of Gary east of Cline Avenue. The district also includes parts of Lake Station, Hobart, Merrillville and Crown Point.

Allen was elected from a field of five candidates including Lita Filippo and Dwight Gardner, both of Gary, Christopher “Cha” Meyers of Crown Point, and Dave Spott of Hobart.

He will fill the remaining three-year term of his late cousin, Roosevelt Allen Jr., who died unexpectedly Jan. 8 at age 68.

Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson swore in Allen to the post.

“I’m not going to promise I will be perfect. I will be fair. I will be open minded. I just look forward to the new journey,” Allen said during his swearing-in ceremony.

“It is my goal and my belief I will do my best to live up to the example that preceded me,” Allen said as an excited crowd of supporters gathered for the caucus in the Syd Garner Auditorium at the Lake County Government Center.

Allen told the media he plans to lead by the example set by his late cousin. After his successful transition from city to county government, Allen looks forward to working with Lake County officials.

“I have always had relationships with county office holders…I am fortunate in that regard. I believe the transition will be smooth working with them and moving forward,” Allen said.

For many in Gary, Allen’s new job is bittersweet. He was elected as Gary’s At-large councilman in 2000. With many Gary residents still mourning Roosevelt’s death, Allen filling his cousin’s seat provides some comfort to many seeking to preserve Roosevelt’s distinguished legacy in the county.

Freeman-Wilson said she hates to see Allen leave, but assured many that he will serve the county well as its new lake county .

“He is an extremely capable and thoughtful legislator,” said Freeman-Wilson. “He was a leader on the council who was very considerate on behalf of Gary residents. We’re going to miss him.”

Buncich said another caucus will fill Allen’s seat on the Gary City Council once he receives a letter of resignation from Allen for his seat. Buncich said the party has 30 days to call the caucus.

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