Former Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson has announced her support for Melissa Borom’s campaign for Congress in Indiana’s 1st congressional district. She is joining the campaign as co-chair. Freeman-Wilson served as mayor of Gary from 2012 to 2019. Currently, she serves as the president of the Chicago Urban League.
“I am delighted to support and join Melissa Borom’s campaign for Congress as campaign co-chair in Indiana’s 1st Congressional District,” said Freeman-Wilson.
“After 35 years of honorable service from Congressman Visclosky, I am confident that Melissa will continue to expand on his good work. As the daughter of a 35-year East Chicago school teacher and a 20-year Merrillville school custodian, Melissa understands the values that make our community strong and the problems that we need to tackle. Through hard work, Melissa earned her law degree from Valparaiso University Law School and worked for Congressman Pete Visclosky, Senator Dick Durbin, and the House Committee on Appropriations.
“As a Gary resident, Melissa sees firsthand the struggles of our community, she understands the need for educational enhancement, the need for good paying jobs and the need for affordable healthcare. She also understands the need for reliable access to public transportation and the need for affordable housing and she will work tirelessly to make sure that our community has the same access as other communities.”
“I am thrilled to have the support of Mayor Freeman-Wilson,” said Borom. “For years, Karen has been a strong voice for Gary and the people of Northwest Indiana. I’m running for Congress to give everyone an equal opportunity for economic success, which starts with access to education. Whether it’s making college more affordable or increasing our investment in trade schools, I’m eager to continue my work lifting up our community.”
Indiana’s 1st Congressional District became an open seat with Congressman Pete Visclosky’s retirement in November 2019.
Born in East Chicago and raised in Merrillville, Melissa Borom is a native of northwest Indiana, where she developed an early understanding of the connections between a quality education, skills development and economic success.
Borom learned early in life that education and hard work provided a gateway to opportunity. She took on two newspaper delivery routes while in high school, often rising at 2 a.m. to make deliveries, before heading to Merrillville High School, where she played on the varsity basketball team.
She earned a degree from Indiana State and a law degree from Valparaiso University Law School, and quickly gained valuable experience in both the public and private sectors.
While attending law school, she worked in the offices of northwest Indiana’s Congressman Pete Visclosky, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin and for the U.S. House Committee on Appropriations in Washington, D.C.
Borom then went to work for AAR Corporation, an independent provider of global aviation services, where she manages government affairs in six states, including Indiana.
In that role, Borom helps fund (and direct) job training programs to partner with local schools and businesses to help students learn the skills needed to become aviation maintenance technicians. She is committed to developing job skills for those who don’t attend college, and she will continue that work in Congress.
Borom also worked with congressional members on the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018, which authorizes a new $5M per year for a five-year workforce development grant program. This program will help recruit and train the next generation of aviation maintenance technicians. In addition to working on the FAA Reauthorization Act, Borom has also worked with Congress to improve competition for Department of Defense (DoD) Maintenance Contracts, which could possibly save the government billions of dollars if they adopt commercial best practices.
Her focus on job skills development and government efficiency will be vital to the economic development of the region, where a skilled workforce in a changing job market is the key to future success.
Her lifelong commitment to bettering lives is evident in her community service.
Borom serves on the board of directors for NorthShore Health Centers in northwest Indiana, which provides vital health care services to those in the region who would otherwise not have access to quality health care options.
She also serves on the board of Ladies of Virtue, a mentorship program for hundreds of young girls, providing professional guidance and developing problem-solving skills in teenagers and young adult women.
Borom has been named to the Northwest Indiana Times’ “Top 20 Under 40,” is a member of the NAACP, the Chicago Urban League and attends Salem Baptist Church in Chicago. She currently resides in Gary.