By Desmond Alicea, Gary Crusader
On Friday, April 28th, Indiana’s governor Eric Holcomb paid a visit to the downtown area of Gary. He was met by a myriad of people from all over the region waiting to greet him at the Centennial Building in downtown Gary. Before Governor Holcomb greeted the crowd, he was swarmed by press and media. As he talked through tough questions from media, people were slowly gathering in the reception area to meet the 51st governor of the Hoosier state.
Among those in attendance were blue-collar workers, clergymen, doctors, lawyers and business owners. The full room represented the demographics of Indiana: different ages, races, careers and economic backgrounds. This was not the first time a Republican governor visited Gary; back in 2013 then governor Mike Pence spoke at the Genesis Convention Center. Something was different about this visit, and this time in history. Maybe it was the tangible excitement from the crowd, or maybe it was the appreciation for the dedication and hard work that went into making this event a success.
There was a buzz in the room, attendees were anticipating hearing how the governor planned on being present in the Gary community. The crowd was blessed to hear words from Reverend Lee Gilliam, and Pastor Charles Emery, who serves as President of the Task Force of Gary. At times, when these men spoke it felt as though you were attending a revival. Their hands flung in the air, and the bellow of their voices boomed as if they were speaking about a scripture from the bible. People cheered, as both men declared how they were touched and impressed with the governor’s genuine concern for the people of Northwest Indiana.
State Senator of the 3rd District, Eddie Melton said a few words as well. He emphasized the necessity of “Servant Leadership.” That trait is something Holcomb exhibits. As Mayor Karen Freeman- Wilson approached the podium, she expressed gratitude. She was thankful for the conversation she held with the governor. Wilson said they focused on things that made them similar; safety, fair wage, environmental concerns, opportunities and challenges. She touted to the crowd that Holcomb has visited the region more than any of his predecessors combined. She made it clear that she was not taking a knock to former Indiana governors, but to show is sheer concern for Gary Holcomb attained. Wilson also thanked the governor publicly for his support of $750,000 to go towards summer jobs in the city.
Holcomb took the stage to the roar of applause from supporters and non supporters. He started off quoting the Bible; “Faith without works is dead”. He was intent on bringing attention to the great work that has gone forth so far with his administration, and spoke on the great work that is to come. “Look at what I’ve accomplished in the past 4 months, look what we can accomplish in the next 4 years”. At that statement, the room erupted. Holcomb took the time out through the applause to zone in on progress. “We didn’t come this far, to only come this far”. As Holcomb was speaking, he made it clear this was not going to be his last visit to the region.
Holcomb intends to attract talent and people to the area and double the pre-k pilot program around the state. Holcomb let everyone know that he “Wants to have deep roots in the region”. Holcomb was glad to receive such a warm reception from people around the region. One of the event’s organizer Josephine “Mother” Wade, President of Women of Power stated Holcomb is now one of her many sons. She went on to say, “This was greatly needed for Gary, He’s just getting started in Gary and look at all he’s done for us”.