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Mark Spencer

Mark Spencer

GARY — A popular educator at the Gary Community School Corp. is considering running to represent portions of the Steel City, Lake Station, New Chicago and Hobart in the Indiana House.

Mark Spencer, fine arts director for Gary schools and director of the West Side Theater Guild, announced Thursday he's forming an exploratory committee for the Democratic nomination in House District 3.

Spencer said if he decides to run for the House he will focus on economic development in Lake County, support for the arts and culture, and increased state funding for public schools and teachers.

The 30-year educator expects to make a final decision about whether to run in coming weeks after consulting with Gary Mayor-elect Jerome Prince and Tony Walker, a prominent Gary attorney.

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The incumbent, state Rep. Ragen Hatcher, D-Gary, previously announced she's giving up her House seat to try to succeed state Sen. Eddie Melton, D-Gary, now that he's running for Indiana governor, or possibly run to represent Northwest Indiana in the U.S. House.

Calumet Township Board President Darren Washington also is exploring a potential campaign for Hatcher's House seat, which prior to 2019 was held for 36 years by current Lake County Councilman Charlie Brown, D-Gary.

Filing for the legislative seats begins Jan. 8, 2020. The deadline to submit a candidacy is Feb. 7 to run in the May 5 primary election.

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