Local officials regroup after major party loses

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    STATE SENATOR-ELECT Eddie Melton, D-Merrillville will represent Northwest Indiana in the 2017 legislative session of the General Assembly. Melton is congratulated by a supporter after hearing the election results.

    By David Denson, Gary Crusader

    Following major losses by the Democratic Party on the national and state level several local Democratic office holders are attempting to regroup.

    Indiana Republicans were able to hold on to the governor’s office and maintain both chambers of the House and Senate in the Indiana General Assembly. Nationally, the candidacy of former Senator Evan Bayh was seen as giving the Democrats a chance to regain control of the U.S. Senate. However a large infusion of cash aided Cong. Todd Young in his defeat of Bayh.

    1img_44301As the tallying of votes in the presidential election night stretched over to the wee hours of the morning, Lake County Commissioner Kyle Allen was among those waiting to learn the outcome.

    While the outcome of the presidential race would be determined much later, in the state contest the results were in by eight o’clock that evening and it was clear that the Democrats had gone down in defeat.

    “It shows that America is still a divided country along a lot of lines, racially, socially, economically and it’s unfortunate that in the year 2016 we still have these issues,” said Allen. Regarding the Republican control of the state, Allen seemed resigned to the reality of the situation. “We have to deal with the governmental landscape as it is. Currently, the Republicans have a super majority in both houses of the legislature, a governor-elect and we have to work within that context and do the best we can in terms of articulating what’s best not only for Northwest Indiana, the county and the city of Gary,” said Allen.

    He said there would be a meeting with members of the Lake County legislative caucus before the end of the month to discuss the legislative agenda for the 2017 legislative session.

    “Between now and Thanksgiving we will have to sit down and outline some priorities for our delegation to present to the legislature for their consideration,” said Allen.

    Kim Robinson
    Kim Robinson

    Calumet Township Trustee Kimberly Robinson said she was disappointed with the results of the election. Robinson, who also serves as Precinct Captain for Gary’s Fifth District said the long lines at many of the polling places in her district was the basis of her optimism.

    “I was hoping that if we came in with a Democratic governor and some Democrats in the legislature more of an even keel especially working through our situation with Griffith. All politics are local to me and I am trying to think of where do we go from here. We just have to keep moving because we have been through this for the last twelve years with a Republic governor. Down south they treat us like stepchildren because this is considered a Democratic stronghold, but maybe that will change over time I don’t know,” said Robinson.

    EARL L. HARRIS, JR STATE REPRESENTATIVE, DISTRICT 2
    EARL L. HARRIS, JR
    STATE REPRESENTATIVE, DISTRICT 2

    State Rep. Earl Harris Jr. said he will be looking forward to promoting Northwest Indiana and the region’s benefits when he takes office in January.

    Harris said, “I will be focusing on how we can rebuild Northwest Indiana through economic development, which means jobs. I will also look at making Northwest Indiana a tourist destination, we sit near the water and we have the airport, along with our rail system. There is a lot of potential there.

    “I think we are Indiana’s best-kept secret and I think it’s time to let others know. Also I will be working on education, which really has to do with formal education, as well as job training and careers that people can get into. The way I see it those two work well together.”

    Mayor Karen Freeman Wilson
    Mayor Karen Freeman Wilson

    Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson says while she was disappointed, she is optimistic that she will be able to work with the governor and the legislators in advancing Gary’s agenda. She said one of her concerns is maintaining control of the Gary Airport.

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