|Hammond Mayor Tom McDermott|
Today, please go north with me to the City of Hammond as we look at the possible candidacy of longtime Mayor, Tom McDermott, Jr.
McDermott was elected Mayor way back in 2003 and took office in 2004. That gives him far more executive government experience than anyone in the field. McDermott has an interesting personal story of growing up as the son of a Republican Mayor (Tom McDermott, Sr.) but also having grown up in Napa, California where his mother resided. That gives him a far different perspective of the Hoosier State than Gregg or Hill or any of the potential candidates. He is a veteran of the U.S. Navy having spent six years plunging the depths of the world's oceans in a submarine. He also is a veteran of the Gulf War.
Hill and Gregg have legislative backgrounds. They are compromisers and consensus builders. McDermott is known for and really famous for his in-your-face and aggressive style. He's not afraid to express his opinion, and he's not afraid of who disagrees. Some Hoosiers might be turned off by that boldness. Others might find his sometimes brashness and abrasiveness as a benefit in running for statewide office against a guy like Mike Pence. He certainly would be a different kind of politician standing next to him in debates.
Besides the contrast in styles, McDermott can also tell folks firsthand what the budget crunch has done to local governments. Under the policies of Mitch Daniels and of Mike Pence, local governments have been pinched and pinched and pinched until being forced to balance their books on the backs of their residents while the state has sat on a huge surplus.
Of course, McDermott has made his share of enemies over the years. Well-publicized feuds with other Lake County officials such as former Sheriff Roy Dominguez have made headlines. Their spat has been personal and nasty over the years. Then again, if everyone got along in Lake County, we'd wonder if everything was ok.
McDermott probably won't hold back on Mike Pence, but it remains to be seen if he'll give this race a shot. It sure sounds like he's interested. In true McDermott fashion, he's kind of running for Mayor with an eye on the Governor's Mansion.
If he decides to run, I look forward to a VERY interesting 2016.