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Hatcher, Renslow rematch for state House District 3 seat

Hatcher, Renslow rematch for state House District 3 seat


Call it a repeat of two years ago.

Gary community activist Jessica Renslow is challenging for the second time incumbent state Rep. Ragen Hatcher, D-Gary. 

Renslow, 39, and Hatcher, 41, are both seeking to be their party's nominee for state representative in House District 3 in the June 2 Democratic primary. 

The House District 3 seat represents those in parts of Gary, Hobart, Lake Station and New Chicago. 

Both women ran for the state representative office in the 2018 Democratic primary, with Renslow losing to Hatcher. 

Hatcher, a Gary native, is the ranking minority member of the Courts and Criminal Code Committee and also serves on the Commerce, Small Business and Economic Development Committee as well as the Statutory Committee on Interstate and International Cooperation. 

Hatcher served as an at-large member of the Gary City Council from 2007 to 2011, when she ran unsuccessfully for Gary mayor. 

Voters returned her to the City Council in 2015. 

And they're off: Municipal candidates get an early start on the 2019 election scene

Hatcher, an attorney, received a bachelor's degree in economics, a law degree and a master's degree in business administration from Valparaiso University and a master's degree in finance from Indiana University. She has worked as a Lake County deputy prosecutor. 

Her father, the late Richard G. Hatcher, made history 50 years ago when he was elected the first black mayor of a major American city. 

Hatcher said that past legislative sessions have focused on environmental issues including erosion on the beaches and discharge from steel mills. 

Future issues that come before legislators will most likely include COVID-19, particularly the health disparities between low-income individuals and African Americans, Hatcher said. 

Since Hatcher serves on the Commerce, Small Business and Economic Development Committee, she foresees that assisting small businesses will also be one of the issues discussed after COVID-19. 

"Once out of COVID-19, we will likely implement some legislation to help small businesses," Hatcher said. 

Renslow, who is in the process of writing a novel, graduated from Hammond's Gavit High School and worked for the city of Hammond. She received degrees in Japanese and television production from Ball State University and was hired by the Japanese ministry of education to teach and translate for three years in rural Japan.

Renslow also worked as an intern with the Indiana General Assembly, worked at Hollywood studios and video game producers and returned to Northwest Indiana in 2015 to conduct community development projects.

Lake County Clerk Michael A. Brown resigns to take Gary City Council seat

"You can come home again," Renslow said.

Renslow said she's ready to bring to Indianapolis the same spirit and dedication she's demonstrated in her Region work as a neighborhood organizer, and promoter of minority business enterprises, wellness and public education.

"We need a defender, someone who is positive, persistent and knows that sometimes it takes a couple of rounds to accomplish a goal," Renslow said.

If elected, Renslow said her efforts at the Statehouse would focus on retaining young talent in the district and luring high-paying jobs to it, supporting local businesses, reforming school funding, promoting green investments that improve the environment and lowering health care and prescription drug costs.

"I believe that Gary, Lake Station, New Chicago and Hobart need an advocate that understands that our diversity is an asset and that working together is the key to our success," Renslow said.

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