Northwest Indiana is different than the rest of the state, and I’m not just talking about the geography.
Unlike Indianapolis, Fort Wayne or Evansville, our political, racial, economic and cultural identity is rooted deeply in both the labor movement and the civil rights movement.
Collectively, if we want to know where Northwest Indiana is going, we must understand where we came from first. Given the numerous ethic and racial backgrounds, Lake County is by far the most diverse in the state. While this quality should give us strength, sadly we have allowed such small differences to divide us.
Sitting in the shadow of the often-negative Chicago media market, it is hard to relate to our state capital. It is important to note that Indiana is set up as a “top down” state; therefore, many local policies like the Little Calumet River Basin project had to flow through Indianapolis first.
As an intern for the Indiana House in 2010, I was able to get a glimpse of what really happens behind the scenes during the legislative process. One thing I quickly noticed was the Northwest Indiana delegation’s inability to work together as a cohesive unit.
My example from the 2010 session would be the Illiana Expressway bill, an opportunity to create high quality jobs while relieving the pressure on America’s busiest interstate.