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Friday, June 17, 2016

Ind. Gov't. - "Indiana lags in minority representation"

Christin Nance Lazerus has a long story today in the Gary Post-Tribune that begins:

As Indiana's population gets more diverse, minority political representation is lagging.

Blacks make up more than 9 percent of Indiana's population, yet hold 8 percent of the seats in the Legislature and just one of the state's 11 congressional seats, according to an Associated Press analysis. Hispanics make up almost 7 percent of the state's population, but less than 1 percent of the Legislature. The state's nine-member congressional delegation includes one African-American, but no Latinos, the analysis shows.

Much of the minority populations are concentrated in urban areas like Lake County and Indianapolis, so local officeholders tend to be more diverse there. * * *

There are no blacks currently elected to prominent statewide office, but that could change soon. Elkhart County Prosecutor Curtis Hill became the first black candidate for Republican statewide office, when he captured the nomination for Attorney General at last weekend's state GOP convention. Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson, a Democrat, is a former Indiana Attorney General.

Brown said the Democrats should do better.

"I don't know why the (statewide) ticket couldn't have been more balanced," Brown said. "I think state party and national Democratic Party leaders take African-Americans for granted. We're one of their staunchest supporters, so we don't have to do as much for them. That has got to change on the state and national level."

Karen Freeman-Wilson was appointed to the Indiana Attorney General post in February 2000. She ran for election to the post that same year, but she was defeated by Republican Steve Carter, a Lowell native.

Freeman-Wilson said she doesn't think her identity as a black female hampered her since Pam Carter — "a great friend and mentor" — had previously been elected to the post in 1993 when Democrat Evan Bayh was governor. * * *

Northwest Indiana is home to a large Hispanic population — particularly in East Chicago, where four city council members and five school board members are Hispanic.

Rep. Christina Hale, an Indianapolis Democrat, is currently only Latina in the statehouse. Hale, who is of Cuban heritage, is the running mate of Democratic gubernatorial nominee John Gregg, who is a former Speaker of the House. If elected, she would become lieutenant governor.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on June 17, 2016 02:07 PM
Posted to Indiana Government