Fitzpatrick to fill City Council vacancy

December 15, 2018 GMT

MICHIGAN CITY — Sean Fitzpatrick is the new Fourth Ward representative to the Michigan City Common Council.

After a tied vote of two for Fitzpatrick and two for Beth Pishkur at a caucus of the La Porte County Democratic Party on Monday, party chairman James Kimmel cast the tiebreaking vote for Fitzpatrick.

Fitzpatrick will replace former councilwoman Pat Boy, who had to resign her post after winning last month’s election for the Ninth District seat in the Indiana House of Representatives.

“I just feel that Sean has a lot to offer for the community,” Kimmel said. “He has been very, very active in the community. A lot of people have been approaching him and myself wanting Sean to continue running for public office.”

Fitzpatrick, 41, is the treasurer of the County Dems, vice chair of the Michigan City Housing Authority Board, and a member of the Michigan City Commission on the Social Status of African-American Males.

A Chicago transplant, Fitzpatrick lives in Coolspring Township with his wife, Terri, and their children. He’s a certified medicolegal death investigator and a deputy Porter County coroner.

He ran unsuccessfully for elected office over the past few years, losing to Bob Cutler for La Porte County Coroner in 2016; to former sheriff Mike Mollenhauer by a single vote in a 2017 caucus for a La Porte County Council seat; and to Boy in the Democratic primary for the state rep seat in May.

“I’m excited to get to work,” Fitzpatrick said after he was appointed to the council. “Hopefully we can get some great things done working with the council.”

Of Pishkur, Kimmel said, “I’ve had some very good conversations with Beth Pishkur as well. Beth is a lifetime Democrat in Michigan City, there’s no question about that. She was on the school board.

“But looking at the overall future of Michigan City and knowing there’s only a year left on Pat Boy’s seat, I felt Sean could potentially use this as a stepping stone to find ways to better the city of Michigan City. Not to say Beth wouldn’t; I just feel that Sean’s the man.”

Although he’s guaranteed the position for all of 2019, Fitzpatrick will face Pishkur again in the Democratic primary in May.

“Since I didn’t win the caucus tonight, I will be running a campaign for the Fourth Ward,” Pishkur said Monday.

“That’s all I ever wanted to do; I retired (from the School Board) just so I could do that. This caucus would have been a bonus. If I’d have gotten it, it would have been nice; but I’m happy. I’m still going to do what I set out to do when I retired and run my campaign.”

And she remained optimistic, stating, “I’ll be on the ballot in the primary, and I should win. I’ll be sitting on that seat in 2020.”

Boy, who endorsed Pishkur as her successor, was present at Monday’s caucus.

“It doesn’t surprise me,” Boy said of the result. “They both could have done a good job, I think. I wished him luck, and asked if he knows what he’s getting into. He knows. But I think he’ll do OK.”

Fitzpatrick will be sworn in to his new role at City Hall on Tuesday.