Re-Election Announcement Event Well Attended

Merrillville Town Council members, Richard Hardaway, Ward 2, Jeff Minchuk, Ward 3, Margaret A. Uzelac, Ward 4, Rick Bella, Ward 5, and Shawn Pettit, Ward 6 each announced their intention to file for re-election on Thursday, December 29, 2022, at The Chateau in Merrillville, to a group of just over 150 friends, family, and supporters. The large hall was decorated with campaign yard signs for each of the candidates and served as a great backdrop for the event.  

Appetizers and drinks were served as Council members each spoke to invited attendees announcing why they were seeking re-election and sharing their goals to keep Merrillville moving forward. The audience had many neighboring cities, towns, and Lake County elected officials. Lake County Democratic Chairman James Wieser also attended to show his support for his fellow democrats and offered these comments, “These 5 Democratic Town Council leaders truly represent what public service is all about, and I am so grateful they have agreed to seek re-election to keep the Town of Merrillville moving forward for the next four years. Their ability to form partnerships with our union friends, especially labor, and local and national developers, has resulted in remarkable economic development and growth, to the benefit of their constituents. Looking forward to the continued progress in 2023 in the town.”   

Keesha Hardaway served as the evening’s MC and introduced each council member before they gave their short speech. She herself has announced her desire to run for office in the town’s seventh district.

Council President Rick Bella, D 5th, said he would like to keep the momentum going that he and his fellow council members have started and discussed how much work the various committees have done to accomplish the momentum. In his closing remarks, he said, “Something is working in Merrillville, and I, along with my fellow council members here tonight would like to continue that forward momentum.”

Council Vice President Richard Hardaway, D 2nd said that there is still work to do and that he is seeking another term to keep Merrillville moving forward. “The business community and town residents heard a very professional message that they can share with their associates and neighbors that the leadership in the Town of Merrillville is working together for the good of everyone.”  

Councilman Jeff Minchuk shared that he is a hometown boy, born and raised in Merrillville, and is a product of the Merrillville school system. He offered, “I’m happy with the event tonight. I believe that all of us announcing our re-election gave a positive message to the community about this great town and how it will become even better in the future.”  

Margaret Uzelac, the councilwoman from the 4th district said she enjoys working with this group of council members and discussed how hard they all work to make things happen in Merrillville. “I’ve enjoyed working closely with my fellow council members and have been pleased with the great economic growth happening now. I never thought I’d see so much happening in Merrillville as I do now”. She has been active in local politics for decades.

Councilman Shawn Pettit, D 6th, said “I still have things to accomplish on my list for the town like working with the White Family, who own the now vacant property at US 30 and I-65 to find a suitable developer to use that land where the once Radisson Hotel and Star Theater used to be located that placed Merrillville on the map decades ago.” Petit also serves as the Redevelopment Commission President and pointed out that Merrillville will soon have a “One-Million square foot warehouse building in town, the largest such building in Lake County. Who knows how many jobs that will create in our town,” he added.    

“I was very pleased with our turnout and how the event went tonight,” Bella added. “This is a great group and I believe the event showed how we are together working as a team for the betterment of our Merrillville community. This is the first time a council has done anything like this to my knowledge,” he added.   

Official filing for public office begins January 4, 2023. The Primary Election will take place Tuesday, May 2, 2023, which will select nominees for the November 7, 2023, General Election. The next 4-year term will begin in January 2024 and run through December 2027.

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