Simmons, Stimley named to Common Council

December 21, 2017 GMT

MICHIGAN CITY — The Michigan City Common Council has two new members.

Former Michigan City Police Chief Gene Simmons will be the new representative from the 6th Ward, and Johnny Stimley will be the newest At-Large councilman. Both men were elected to the Common Council during caucuses Wednesday night.

Simmons will be finishing the term of recently resigned Council President Chris Schwanke, who left the Common Council to pursue opportunities in another state. Stimley will be finishing the term of the late Al Whitlow, who passed away at his home last month.

“Well, I am just excited about being elected,” Simmons said after his win. “I’m looking forward to working with the mayor, the council. I am very excited about the direction of the city.”

The caucus, which took place at the Michigan City Police Station, gave each candidate three minutes to speak and make their case as to why they should be elected.

The candidates for the 6th ward council position included: Franklin Anderson, Jeff Deuitch, Ricky Jackson, Nancy Moldenhauer and Dalia Zygas, along with Simmons. The candidates for the at-large seat vacated by Whitlow were: David Biela, Jeff Deuitch, Effie Fowler, Carolyn Harmon, Thomas Kulavik, Micheal Mack, Abagael May, Nancy Moldenhauer and Dalia Zygas, along with Stimley.

Only the four precinct chairpersons from the 6th Ward voted in the 6th Ward caucus, and all 24 precinct chairpersons voted in the At Large caucus.

Simmons was elected after receiving all four votes in the first round of voting in the 6th Ward caucus. After Stimley received 10 votes in the first round of voting, Deuitch, Fowler, Kulavik and Zygas were dropped off the ballot and all 24 precinct chairpersons voted again. Stimley finished that round with 13 votes, two more than the required 11 to win the caucus, making him the newest At Large member of the Common Council.

“I will strive to create, enhance, and maintain a positive quality of life, and a healthier and greener environment for Michigan City citizens to live and work in,” Stimley said. “I pledge to assume a leadership role in addressing the needs of our community and developing economic opportunities for our community.”

Stimley added that he wants to continue to help build Michigan City into a thriving community. Stimley is currently the Washington Park Zoological Society president, and maintains an active role in helping organize community events all across the city.

“I will continue to focus on families, youth development, structure programs, green programs, and activities, and building Michigan City into a healthier community,” he said.

Both Simmons and Stimley will sit in their chairs for the first time in the Common Council Chambers on Jan. 2, when the Michigan City Common Council convenes for the first time in 2018.

Simmons, who reiterated his belief that Michigan City was trending in the right direction, also added that he just wants to help make Michigan City a better place for everyone.

“Hopefully I can be an asset,” he said.