The Crusader Newspaper Group

Gary Crusader Endorsements for the Democratic Ballot

Hillary Clinton for President

This election is not as much about saving President Barack Obama’s legacy as it is preventing Republicans from throwing out the baby with the bath water. As Americans we must continue to protect what works and make improvements where needed, both on a national and local level. Electing a woman as President of the United States in 2016 is as history making as electing the first African American man. It might even be transformational. It all comes down to voter turnout.

If Hillary Clinton wins and brings other Democrats along with her to Washington, her party might be able to take over the Senate. Only five seats are needed for Democrats to gain control. In the short term, that could translate into an African American woman being confirmed as a Supreme Court Justice.

Since the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, earlier this year, the nine-member Supreme Court is without its 5-4 conservative voting advantage. As a result, the Senate refused to consider the president’s nomination of District of Columbia Circuit Court Judge Merrick Garland until after the election of Obama’s successor. The next Supreme Court will rule on issues of race, sex, religion, guns, immigration, unions, and the exorbitant amounts of money being spent on political campaigns. With three of the surviving Supreme Court Justices in or near their 80s, the next president might very well have an opportunity to make more than one nomination. As president, Hillary Clinton promises to appoint Supreme Court justices who see the Constitution as a blueprint for progress.

We believe there is too much at stake not to support the Democratic ticket this election. The gridlock we are experiencing in both Washington and Springfield continues to stymie progress and is having a devastating impact on those who need government help the most. That is why the Gary Crusader Newspaper is endorsing the following federal and state representatives:



When former Democratic Senator and Governor Evan Bayh left the U.S. Senate seat in 2011, it became a Republican seat with the election of Dan Coats. Now Bayh returns to take on U.S. Rep. Todd Young, a Republican, who defeated the Democratic nominee for the seat during the Indiana Primary Election. The incumbent Dan Coats is retiring at the end of his term.

Sen. Bayh, who is a well-known candidate in Indiana was active in the state’s politics having served two terms as governor and two terms as U.S. Senator. His reason for not seeking re-election in 2011 was “partisan discord, the inability of lawmakers to make decisions outside of their “narrow ideology,” and “the kind of bitter politicking that he said put President Barack Obama’s whole agenda in jeopardy.” Bayh announced his entry into the 2016 General Election race after listening to the concerns of business owners, entrepreneurs, neighbors and friends all across Indiana.

When he was a Senator, his votes were consistently in the best interests of Hoosiers like his support of the Affordable Care Act. Bayh will not abandon Hoosiers on issues like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which he opposes because he thinks it will lead to job losses in Indiana. Evan believes that before the United States considers or agrees to any new trade deals, we must improve enforcement of our trade laws, including cracking down on currency manipulation and better protecting American ingenuity and Intellectual Property.


Throughout his time in office, Pete has been a champion for Northwest Indiana. He has fought to strengthen our local steel industry and manufacturing base. He also has worked with federal, state and local interests to support transformative, intergenerational projects that will enhance the strong economic infrastructure of Northwest Indiana. Further, as a leader on national security issues, Pete understands our nation’s responsibility to provide for our active military service members and veterans.

As the Vice Chairman of the Congressional Steel Caucus, Pete has been leading efforts to ensure that our steelworkers are able to continue to make the best steel in the world. He knows that manufacturing and the steel industry are the foundation of the Northwest Indiana economy. Pete supports collective bargaining for our workers and fights against bad trade deals and countries, who break our trade laws.

Pete also is a leading advocate for major economic development projects in Northwest Indiana, including the recapitalization and expansion of the South Shore Rail Line, a regional bus service, the Gary/Chicago International Airport, and the Marquette Plan, his strategy to open up public access to our Lake Michigan shoreline.

In the 114th Congress, Pete serves as a member of the Appropriations Committee and is the Ranking Member on the Defense Subcommittee, where he works to keep our nation safe, protect America’s brave men and women in uniform, and preserve our defense industrial base. He is also a member of the Energy and Water Subcommittee, where he works to support investments in our national water-related infrastructure, including our ports, harbors, and waterways.



As recently as October 22nd, Gregg was in Gary, Indiana campaigning at a breakfast with local ministers and supporters. At a luncheon at the Majestic Star Casinos last year, Indiana Governor Mike Pence spoke for an hour to a crowd that apparently did not understand what his message meant to Gary. He said the state added 60,000 workers in 2015 and that the state’s Economic Development Corp. has added 38 projects in Northwest Indiana, which brought $33 million in investment to the region. During his state’s economic address, Pence also argued that Gary’s unemployment rate is at 5.4 percent, down from 10.4 percent when he took office.

As he spoke, heads turned while many questioned the governor’s speech. Most of those jobs the governor spoke of had not come to Gary. Also, the city’s unemployment rate was much higher than 5.4 percent.

Pence’s speech shows how disconnected the governor has grown from the people of Gary since he took office in 2013. His conservative policies are too weak for a city that’s still sputtering out of the economic recession.

On November 8 John R. Gregg is Indiana’s best hope for a better future in Indiana. An experienced and well-regarded public servant, John Gregg has spent more than 30 years as a faithful public servant who is passionate about helping people. He is a former university president and former Speaker of the Indiana House and a businessman. He is also a small business owner. As governor, Gregg will implement a mandatory 10-day turnaround on public information requests, improve access to public records and create a Public Transparency Commission.

In addition, Gregg will use his experience to focus on growing the economy, improving schools, fixing our roads and bridges, and addressing crime in our communities, rather than social issues that only distract and divide us.


After being endorsed by both State Senator Earline Rogers and Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson, Eddie Melton won the primary election and now runs unopposed for the vacant District 3 Senate Seat. His constituents will include Gary, Lake Station, New Chicago, Hobart, Merrillville and a small portion of northern Crown Point. With his political ambition and heart for Gary and other Northwest Indiana cities, we look forward to his service and support for the constituents of Northwest Indiana.

A Roosevelt graduate, Melton has been at forefront of addressing the school’s academic struggles and future as a member of the Indiana State Board of Education. He would pick up where Rogers left off. She spearheaded legislation and played a key role in helping secure a $15 million loan for the cash-strapped Gary Community Schools Corporation. With education a hot issue in Gary, Melton is the perfect leader to carry on a cause that affects thousands of students in the city.

Melton is also a local leader in President Barack Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative. He has fought to provide youth with the necessary resources and institutional support to prepare them for college and career readiness and, ultimately the global economy. In addition, Melton cares about improving the region’s aging infrastructure, public transportation and union jobs. When it comes to the elderly, Melton wants to expand affordable housing options and health care facilities, and food assistance programs. He also wants to improve access and services for veterans of the Armed Forces.

Gary needs a proactive leader Like Melton that will effectively honor the legacy left by Rogers.


It is hoped that Harris will be just as effective as his father, Earl Harris, Sr. who died last year after serving in the House for 34 years. His mother, Donna Harris, was elected to serve out her husband’s term in 2015.

Earl Harris Jr. plans on pushing for “big ideas” championed by his father. This includes a Northwest Indiana convention center and professional sports stadium, and developing new business in the region.


Running unopposed in the November 2016 General Election Brown is a giant in Indiana politics. He was first elected to the Indiana House of Representatives in 1982; Charlie has served on a number of influential legislative committees. Perhaps his most prominent leadership role has been as chairman of the Indiana House Standing Committee on Public Health; even when not serving as chairman, he has played a key role as a member of this panel for many years.

His work on the Public Health Committee has given Rep. Brown the opportunity to work diligently toward one of his primary legislative goals: to provide affordable, accessible and high-quality health care for all Indiana citizens.

Among the most recent of Rep. Brown’s legislative achievements was the key leadership role he played in 2007 in enacting a new statewide effort to promote improved health care for Hoosiers.

Brown’s stellar political career and experience will continue to benefit Gary in the coming years. For his many years as a tireless servant, Gary voters should continue to reward him at the polls.


Also, running unopposed this Ranking Minority Member of the Education Committee is a dedicated champion for his constituents especially in the areas of Education. State Representative Vernon G. Smith became a member of the Indiana House of Representatives when Earline Rogers resigned to fill the Indiana Senate seat of the late Carolyn Mosby. He represents Indiana House District 14 at the Statehouse in downtown Indianapolis whenever the State Legislature—the General Assembly—is in session.

Prior to his election to the Indiana House of Representatives, Vernon had served on the Gary City Council in 1972.

State Rep. Smith is the former interim dean of Indiana University Northwest’s School of Education. He graduated from Froebel High School and earned his Bachelor of Science, Master of Science and Ed.D. degrees from Indiana University; and has undertaken post-doctoral work at Indiana University and Purdue University.

Vernon G. Smith has served in a wide range of civic and community leadership positions. A businessman, he refurbished the Glen Theatre. He is a member of the Indiana University Alumni Association and is a life member of the NAACP.



Marissa McDermott is passionate about refining the justice system as the first female Circuit Court Judge in Lake County. McDermott has promised to be a full-time judge—present and available to serve the constituency. She also indicated she will strive to ensure that cases are always progressing toward resolution. As a judge, her commitment is to be dedicated to maintaining the highest degree of patience, dignity, and courtesy to all who encounter the court. McDermott will bring to the bench her broad legal knowledge, which includes work in personal injury, intellectual property, probate, criminal & traffic, worker’s compensation, retirement benefits, landlord/tenant, products liability, small claims, union issues, contracts, wage & hour, and employment discrimination. McDermott have practiced before almost every judge in Lake County, including federal, state, and town courts, and will apply their most effective procedures to improve those of the Circuit Court. Although the McDermott name still stirs up painful scars that have not healed between Gary and Hammond, she has said with time, she will win the support of the people of Gary.



Frey has improved the transparency of the Coroner’s office and will continue to make improvement in other areas. Before being elected Lake County Coroner, Merrilee served as a Forensic Nurse Examiner who headed the Lake Circuit Court’s domestic relations services for more than a decade.

Besides her 25-year nursing career, Merrilee has also been an owner in the Hobart Art Theater, has received several awards and acknowledgements, and has served on several boards and committees.

She is a member of the International Association of Forensic Nurses, the Indiana Forensic Nurse Association, the American Nurses Association, the Indiana State Nurses Association, the Lake County Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Task Force (10 year active member), the Lake County Drug Free Alliance (10 year active member), and Tri-Kappa Epsilon Zeta (10 year active member).

Merrilee has been an effective County Coroner and should be retained.


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