Nov 9, 2023 - News

Newly elected Lawrence mayor part of historic trend

Whitfield was greeted like a celebrity at the Marion County Democrats' party Tuesday night. Photo: Arika Herron/Axios

Marion County was one of several communities across the country that made history during Tuesday's election.

Driving the news: Democrat Deb Whitfield was elected mayor of Lawrence, making her Marion County's first Black mayor.

Why it matters: There are still milestones that women and minorities haven't yet achieved — including being elected to positions of power and leadership in many communities.

What happened: Whitfield, a Lawrence resident since 1995, beat deputy mayor Dave Hofmann with about 53% of the vote.

  • She succeeds Republican Mayor Steve Collier, who didn't run for a third term.

Her background: Whitfield has served on the Lawrence Common Council since being elected in 2019.

  • She currently works as the director of diversity, equity, and inclusion for Community Health Network, where she previously worked as a respiratory therapist.

What they're saying: "It's a very diverse community," said Indiana Democratic Party Chairman Mike Schmuhl. "Representation matters. Having leadership in Indiana that reflects our state is very, very important and that's one of the reasons why we're excited about Deb's win."

Meanwhile, Ronald Morrell Jr. is the first Black Republican to be elected mayor in Indiana's history — winning in the city of Marion.

  • Democrat Angie Nelson Deuitch won Tuesday, making her the first Black mayor in Michigan City.
  • Stephanie Terry, a Democrat, was elected in Evansville, making her that city's first Black and first female mayor.

Zoom out: They're all part of a trend of cities around the country electing "firsts."

Go deeper: Even more firsts


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