The Crusader Newspaper Group

Gary City Elections

After decades of struggles, Gary’s economy is showing signs of a comeback. In the last few years, several companies made front page headlines, announcing plans to relocate or build new plants in Gary. These plans include providing much needed jobs for the Gary residents and opportunities for the city’s economy.

New owners of the Magic Star Casino are moving forward on their plans to boost revenues as a gaming bill nears approval in the Indiana Assembly. U.S. Steel has committed to making $750 million in improvements to its Gary offices. As Miller Park sparkles with new visitors, the historic Gary bank building downtown hums with Centier Bank, which opened three years ago under much fanfare and excitement. Gary’s historic main library is back after six years of closure. For the first time in decades, walking tours through Gary’s historic downtown have sparked renewed interest in the city’s past, present and especially its future.

Behind this revival is Gary’s Mayor Karen-Freeman Wilson.


Freeman-Wilson is a two-term incumbent whose strong leadership is rejuvenating Gary after years of high unemployment and poverty. In the second chapter of her leadership at City Hall, her momentum picked up steam as Amazon, Alliance Steel and Fulcrum, BioEnergy have followed through on plans to provide thousands of jobs to Gary residents.

Recently, a developer unveiled plans to build sleek apartment lofts on the site of Gary’s crumbling Memorial Auditorium. While it’s sad to see a relic of the city’s past demolished, it’s uplifting and important to see a developer invest in the city’s future.

These achievements haven’t come easy for Freeman-Wilson. In a Republican state, she has gotten little to no support from Indiana’s leaders to rebuild Gary. But instead of abandoning her city to seek bigger opportunities at a prestigious law firm, the two-time Harvard grad press- ed on with her vision even as Gary seemed like a hopeless desert. Now she has begun to turn heads in a city that was written off as a lost town. She is winning over cri- tics and those who doubted whether Gary could be saved.

This year, four of Gary’s past mayors gave Freeman-Wilson their vote of confidence at a forum at Indiana University Northwest. They all agreed that Gary is on the right track because of Freeman-Wilson’s strong leadership and bold vision for her hometown.

At her annual State of the City address, Freeman-Wilson took her vision one step further by unveiling her master plan for Gary. It includes demolishing more buildings and making many infrastructure improvements to battered roads in the city’s neighborhoods. There is still much work to be done, but the city is moving in the right direction.

With her successful track record, the Crusader believes Freeman-Wilson will deliver on these promises because she has proven to be a leader who get things done.

The Crusader applauds her opponents for their efforts for Gary’s top job, but what have they done for the city in the past five or 10 years? From her perseverance and genuine leadership, Freeman-Wilson has made it clear that she loves and knows Gary as a dedicated public servant, not a career seeking politician who disappears after election season.

It’s been an inspiring journey during Freeman-Wilson’s eight years in office and the Crusader can’t wait to see what’s in store for the third chapter.

For her determination, sacrifice and hard work, Freeman-Wilson has earned our respect and admiration and most importantly, our endorsement for mayor of Gary.

The rebuilding and revitalization of Gary has been and continues to be an ongoing process. Six mayors dedicated their time and effort to this endeavor during their times in office. Through the years we have witness development of projects that aim to revitalize the downtown corridor and the entire city.

In the area of public safety, the city has seen a reduction in crime which in addition to the efforts of the administration, is the result of the Gary Police Department’s partnerships with the Lake County Sheriff, Indiana State Police, countless federal agencies and the Gary for Life Program.

Under the current administration, 1,200 abandoned buildings have been demolished and 1,500 abandoned structures have been identified for rehabilitation. Fifty million dollars have been spent on infrastructure improvements.

Gary is experiencing a rebirth and the Crusader endorses the following individuals who are qualified and capable of helping the mayor continue revitalizing Gary.

RON BREWERRon Brewer during his tenure as president of the Gary Common Council has demonstrated that he is a true leader. Whether on the floor of the council or interacting with constituents Brewer has shown a genuine concern in serving and meeting the needs of those he serves.

HERB SMITHHerb Smith is the voice of reason on the Gary Common Council. As his campaign slogan states, Smith wants to improve the quality of life for all citizens of Gary. Smith is dedicated to ensuring the council works to meet those needs.

MIKE BROWNSince joining the Gary Common Council, Mike Brown has brought the same dedication and leadership qualities that he demonstrated in his former position in Lake County government. Brown is equally dedicated and committed to serving the citizens of Gary.

FIRST DISTRICTPolitical newcomer William A. Godwin brings a strong commitment to all he seeks to do. Whether it be in his business or campaigning, Godwin gives 100 percent. If elected, Gary residents are certain that he will bring that same level of commitment to representing the residents of the First District.

SECOND DISTRICTServing the residents of the 2nd District has been Michael Protho’s passion. Through his numerous community meetings to neighborhood cleanup efforts, Protho has shown the Gary Common Council that he is a hands-on activist in  serving the residents in his district. Protho through his efforts is working to make the Second District second to none.

THIRD DISTRICTAs chairperson of the Council Finance Committee, Mary Brown has worked with the administration to make sure that the city’s finances are intact. She has played an important role in ensuring that businesses that seek to do business with the city comply with Gary’s laws. Brown has also been a strong advocate for her district and holds regular meetings to keep residents in her district informed.

FOURTH DISTRICTTai Adkins is a newcomer to the political arena. She has run an impressive campaign. While campaigning, Adkins not only asks for their support, but she uses her experience to learn about the needs of those she seeks to represent. If elected, the Crusader believes that Adkins will be a strong advocate for the Fourth District.

FIFTH DISTRICTCaldwell has represented her district with the deepest concern for its residents. Having grown up in the district, Caldwell is aware of the needs of her constituents and works to see that those needs are addressed.

SIXTH DISTRICTDwight Williams will bring a dedication of service to representing the residents of the Sixth District. After four years of neglect in the district’s neighborhoods, Williams will be a welcomed presence on the Gary Common Council.

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