Gary Crusader staff report
After heated campaigning, Herb Smith on Thursday, February 18, became the newest member to serve on the Gary Common Council.
Smith, business executive, replaces Kyle Allen, who stepped down to succeed his late cousin Roosevelt D. Allen, Jr. who served as Lake County Commissioner until his sudden death last January.
Smith was picked for the position by about 105 Gary committeemen, who held a meeting at the Genesis Convention Center, where they heard presentations from eight people interested in filling the District At-Large seat.
Lake County Democratic Chairman John Buncich wanted a quick hearing, but Gary officials held multiple rounds of voting before they picked Smith for the position.
There were eight candidates who wanted the position. They include Ron Matlock, Jacqueline Lee, James Landon Dillon, David Fossett, L’Roselia Colaine and Irene Smith-King, the wife of former Gary Mayor Scott King. Another candidate, MacArthur Drake, is a former city attorney for Gary and former legal counsel for the Gary/ Chicago International Airport.
Smith-King and Drake unsuccessfully ran for last year’s election cycle for an at-large council post. Both lost out last year to council President Ronald Brewer, council member Ragen Hatcher and Allen.
Both candidates put up old campaign signs in front of the Genesis Center, hoping to persuade the committeemen entering the building.
In the first voting round, Smith received the highest votes at 43. Smith-King received 34 votes. How-ever, a second round of voting was needed since Smith failed to get the required 49 votes for a candidate to win the council post outright on the first vote.
Drake received just one vote in the first round.
On the second vote, Smith won by a tally of 56-37. Smith was immediately administered the oath of office by city Judge Deidre Monroe.
Smith said he would want to use his 30 years of business experience to help the city address its needs.
“I’ll be our voice on the council because I’m one of you,” he said. “I know what it is like to speak but not be heard.”