MICHIGAN CITY – Democrats easily retained control of the Michigan City Common Council in the municipal election on Tuesday.
At-large incumbents winning re-election were Council President Don Przybylinski, who will serve his third consecutive term on the council, and Councilman Johnny Stimley.
Przybylinski, who received 28.58 percent of the at-large votes (3,358) said he sought re-election because he brings experience to the table – experience he believes is necessary to move the city forward over the next four years.
“I bring experience, common sense and a financial background to the council,” he said, having served eight years on the council, and two years as president.
“I’m very thankful to the voters of Michigan City for having the trust bestowed upon me to represent them at the city council,” he said.
Stimley, who will be heading into his first full four-year term as councilman in January, received 26.95 percent of the at-large vote (3,166). He was appointed to the council in a caucus by the Democratic Party in December 2017 following the death of Councilman Al Whitlow.
Celebrating with friends and family on Tuesday night, Stimley said, “Tonight the citizens of Michigan City used their voices and votes to express confidence and trust in me. I want to emphasize my heartfelt thanks to the voters of Michigan City. Together we will continue to open new doors in entrepreneur opportunities, job creation and education enrichment programs.”
He also hopes to establish more government transparency and financial stability over the next four years.
Angie Nelson-Deuitch won the third at-large seat on the council with 2,916 (or 24.82 percent) votes.
Previously serving on the council from 2008-12, Nelson-Deuitch said this was the right time to run again.
“I saw changes happening, and I can be a bridge in the community,” she said. “There is so much divisiveness in our community, in law enforcement, code enforcement and housing – and I’ve been in poverty before so I can speak on behalf of all citizens.”
Toasting to “new beginnings” with friends and family following the election results, Nelson-Deuitch said she plans to work closely with other council members, as well as the city’s new mayor, to move the city forward.
“We may not always agree, but we have to know what our priorities are and work together,” she said.
Paul Przybylinski, brother of Don Przybylinski, also won re-election, retaining the 2nd Ward council seat he was appointed to by the Democratic Party following a caucus to replace the seat vacated by Candice Silvas earlier this year.
He won with 73.02 percent of the vote (or 582 votes), against Republican opponent Alena Ursida.
"I'm looking forward to serving the constituents of the 2nd Ward, and the city. I'm really appreciative and ready to get to work. I'm very humbled by the opportunity to serve the residents of the 2nd Ward and the city as whole," he said.
"I'm very excited to get to work with my brother and tackle some of these things that have just been ignored in the area we live in."
Michael Mack was elected to represent the 3rd Ward, receiving 63.57 percent of the vote on Tuesday.
Mack ran unsuccessfully for an at-large council seat in 2015, but chose to run again this year because he feels there are many things that could use improvement in Michigan City, and added, “I can help.”
The full-time steel worker at ArcelorMittal said his primary passion is education. With an autistic son, Mack said he believes the city should spend more money on local issues and people, and less on infrastructure.
He thanked the voters who supported him, saying, “I plan to work hard, learn and apply all of my skills, and I hope to be successful.”
Newcomer Tracie Tillman received 53.71 percent of the vote to overtake her opponent, Republican Nathan Patrick, in the 5th Ward. This is the first time Tillman sought public office, and said it was the right time because, “My city needs me.”
Disappointed in the low voter turnout on Tuesday, Tillman said she would like to focus on getting more voters to participate in the next election. But over the next four years she will work to make improvements to the 5th Ward.
“I look forward to working with all of the other candidates for a better 5th Ward and for a better Michigan City … I will stand in the gaps to intercede on behalf of the residents of the 5th Ward,” she said, hoping to focus on safety, youth, sidewalks – items she believes are concerns for other wards, as well.
Councilman Gene Simmons retained his 6th Ward council seat, besting Dan Granquist (R) and Franklin Anderson (I) with 65.89 percent of the vote.
Simmons joined the council in December 2017 to fill the 6th ward seat vacated by Chris Schwanke.
He said he was elated to win re-election, adding, “I think I got my message out – focusing on economic growth, quality jobs and wages, retention of manufacturing jobs, affordable quality housing and making sure we have a work-ready workforce.”
Over the next four years he hopes to collaborate with his fellow council members and the mayor’s office to enhance the quality of life in Michigan City. “I’m not what I consider a politician,” Simmons said. “I just care about my city and want to move it to the next level.”
Unopposed in this election, Councilman Bryant Dabney will retain his 1st Ward seat and Councilman Sean Fitzpatrick will continue serving the 4th Ward.