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Eddie Melton and his family at Tuesday night's victory party

Gary shows it is ready for next mayor Eddie Melton

Contributed By: The 411 News

Mark Spencer is possible successor to serve out remainder of Melton's senate term

In heavily Democratic Gary, vote totals from yesterday's General Election showed State Senator Eddie Melton defeated his Republican opponent Andrew Delano 6,364 to 313 to become Gary's next mayor.

Melton's campaign slogan and song "Are you ready for Eddie" was so infectious that some Gary voters will have to be forgiven for thinking he was taking office after May's primary win over Mayor Jerome Prince.

Melton's supporters were ready for Eddie at Tuesday night's victory party at the ArtHouse where the parking lot was filling up before the polls closed at 6pm.

The official new mayor of Gary, come January 1, 2024, was introduced about 8pm to the standing room only crowd.

He promises to re-introduce Gary to the world as the "greater Gary, Indiana. This is the city that sits on one of the world's largest bodies of fresh water. The city that has over 3.5 miles of recreational beach front."

"It's the city with 4 major highways, an international airport, and is 25 miles from the nation's third largest city," Melton said.

All of that means nothing without the people, he said, and reminded the audience who Gary is.

Melton said, "We are the city that helped build this nation with steel production. We are the city that elected the nation's first black mayor, Richard Gordon Hatcher. We are the city that gave the world its greatest entertainment family, Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5. We are the city that gave Congress Katie Hall, the woman that helped create the Dr. King holiday."

"It is not the images you see of people running through abandoned buildings telling you that Gary is the most depraved city in the nation," Melton said.

Mark Spencer was in last night's crowd, a possible replacement when Melton steps down from his senate seat.

In today's Post-Tribune, Melton said he liked Spencer as a successor. “He’s proven to be a servant of the community,” Melton told the Post-Tribune, adding that he believes Spencer will be able to “work across the aisle” in Indianapolis.

The nod to Spencer has been rumored for some months. Spencer secured a win in the May Democratic Primary contests for an at-large seat on the Gary city council and repeated the win in Tuesday's races.

Spencer, Director of the West Side Theater Guild, said he's preparing for his life to be turned upside down if he's selected to serve out Melton's term in the Indiana Senate.

"The family member that I take care of, the advancement of the WSTG program, my personal health, the loss of potential revenue -- Gary's worth it," Spencer said. "It's a sacrifice. I do it for Gary, because Gary's been good to me."

Spencer has taught in the Gary Community School Corporation for 32 years and served as the WSTG director for the last 27 years.

This first week in November has kept Spencer busy. On November 1, WSTG held a concert with gospel singer great Shirley Caesar. He's been directing rehearsals for a WSTG co-production with IU Northwest Theatre for a six day run, starting November 9, of August Wilson's "Two Trains Running."

"I am thankful for the confidence people are placing in me," Spencer said.

Mark Spencer, l-r, Gary City Council President Tai Adkins, and Gary Health Department Director Roland Walker

Story Posted:11/08/2023

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