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Deb Whitfield becomes first Black mayor in Marion County

Deb Whitfield becomes first Black mayor in Marion County

LAWRENCE, Ind. (WISH) — A historic win in Lawrence is taking precedence.

Democrat Deb Whitfield has become the first Black mayor in Marion County history.

“I stand on so many shoulders of people that have paved the way, and I just feel very humbled that I have this opportunity to represent all of Lawrence,” said Whitfield.

Mayor-elect of Lawrence Deb Whitfield is changing history as Marion County’s first Black mayor in the Lawrence community.

Whitfield says she’s excited to be paving the way for Black and brown communities.

“It brings tears to my eyes, but they’re tears of joy that I have an opportunity to show all Black and Brown children, girls, and women that you can do this,” Whitfield said. “Once you put your mind to it and have a goal, you can achieve anything.”

Her list of priorities includes working with departments to keep the city safe and attract new development, as well as better-paying jobs, among other things.

“I also want to make sure that everyone understands we’re building on the momentum out here in Lawrence. We’re growing, we’re very diverse, and we want to make sure we continue on that,” said Whitfield.

Organizations like Hoosier Women Forward are excited about the impact she has made.

“Our diverse populations are growing in Indiana. They are contributing, and to see them represented in all legislative bodies is critical to making sure that we have the right type of policies to support our communities,” said Elise Shrock, the board chair of Hoosier Women Forward.

“Everyone wants to feel like they belong, and they work and live here, and they have someone that’s an advocate for them. A very strong voice,” said Whitfield.

“In this election, Lawrence voted for Deb Whitfield and a brighter future for families and workers across the city. Deb ran an inclusive campaign focused on the future of Lawrence – its neighborhoods, its public safety, and most importantly, its people. We congratulate Deb and her team on this strong win and look forward to her leadership as Marion County’s first African-American mayor when she’s sworn in next year.”

Chairman Mike Schmuhl, Indiana Democratic Party

“I’d like to congratulate Deb Whitfield on becoming the first Black mayor in Marion County history. She’s promised to bring change to Lawrence, and her landmark election is a sign of that change. Her tenure will bring a wealth of insight to the Lawrence Mayor’s Office. She’s extremely well-versed in diversity initiatives and healthcare management. Her experience and her style of collaborative leadership will ensure that every voice is heard. I know she will preserve the positives for Lawrence while tackling difficult municipal issues. I’m looking forward to her term as mayor. ” 

Rep. Robin Shackleford (D-Indianapolis)

“The League of Women Voters of Indiana extends our congratulations to the Mayor-Elect of the City of Lawrence, Deb Whitfield. Deb becomes the first woman and the first person of color to hold the mayor’s office in Lawrence, and we are glad to see new ground broken in the state of Indiana for what women and African-Americans are working to achieve. As women represent just over half of Indiana’s population, we hope that with Mayor-Elect Whitfield’s example, more women across the state answer the call to public service and realize they can make a difference in their communities. We heartily congratulate Ms. Whitfield, and wish her and the City of Lawrence every success.”

The League of Women Voters of Indiana

“The election of Deborah Whitfield as Mayor of Lawrence is a pivotal point in the political landscape of central Indiana. This is evidence of the demographic and cultural changes in Indiana. It is should also be noted that Evansville also elected a black women as its mayor. Women4Change congratulations the accomplishment of these women as we work to continue to have women’s voices heard and valued.”

Deborah Hearn Smith, Women4Change Action Board Chair