Indiana Pastor, Human Rights Activist, and Candidate for Mayor of Portage, Indiana
Along the southern shores of Lake Michigan in the Indiana Dunes National Park a long-time Green, environmental, and human rights activist is running for Mayor. Rev. Michael Cooper has submitted petitions with 125% of the needed nominations to be on the November ballot in Portage, Indiana. He steps into a race that has in the most recent elections flipped between Democrats and Republicans with as few as 225 votes being the winning margin.
Eight years ago Rev. Cooper led a group of residents to present to the Ordinance Committee of the Portage City Council a proposed 21 page comprehensive human rights ordinance for Portage, a city with a legacy of racial tensions since the white-flight from neighboring Gary, Indiana. Even though the human rights ordinance was modeled after the one adopted by the county seat, the Portage Common Council created a false narrative about not wanting people from neighboring towns (meaning Gary) coming to Portage to use our lawyers for free. The Democratic majority Council stripped everything from the ordinance except the cover page and slapped it on the walls of city hall with a statement that discrimination does not happen in Portage.
Since then Rev. Cooper has been a vocal advocate in Portage, speaking against the city not reporting hate crime statistics to the state, against the home-based online gun exchange shops in residential neighborhoods and most recently against the development of a lead-casting plant next to a city park. Rev. Cooper has been called a liar by one of the Republican candidates for mayor and the current Democratic mayor has called him the problem.
“I believe that Portage can be a place where all families can thrive,” stated Rev. Cooper. “I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and work with our residents to make that happen. As mayor, I’ll focus on making Portage the region’s driving force for green jobs, amplifying city services in all our neighborhoods, rebuilding the dismantled community arts programs, securing the basic human rights for our residents and embracing the diversity that is at the heart of Portage.”
Aside from the local efforts with the Northwest Indiana Green Party, Rev. Cooper previously served as treasurer of the Indiana Green Party and is currently its elected Communications Director. He is also a member of the NWI Medicare for All group that meets monthly at Steelworker Hall. He looks forward to working with other Greens around the region seeking to bring our progressive values to our local governments.
You can discover more about Rev. Cooper’s campaign for Mayor of Portage, Indiana at www.revmichaelforportage.com.