Jerome Prince and the governor

Jerome Prince, the virtual mayor-elect of Gary, left, poses for a photo with Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb and Gary lawyer Tony Walker, right, at Guaranteed Rate Field recently.

If pictures truly can say 1,000 words, Gary's mayoral heir apparent isn't sitting idle as he prepares to take over a city with millions of dollars in problems.

Hard evidence emerged last week that Democratic mayoral nominee Jerome Prince is seeking the help for the city's financial challenges from one of the most influential leaders in the state.

A Gary blog and various social media feeds contained the Facebook photo of Prince joining Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb at a recent Chicago White Sox game.

The two men were both in attendance at Guaranteed Rate Field, and Gary lawyer and state education board member Tony Walker helped introduce them.

Prince said he pounced on the chance to begin talking to the governor about the millions of dollars in tax-anticipation warrants — money the city has borrowed against future tax collections — that will come due both before and after he becomes mayor. He knows a number of Gary’s challenges will require state help, and Holcomb is one of the best allies in the state.

The tax-anticipation warrants issue is dire because the city has no real answer for how to pay at this point.

In fact, it has become clear in recent years that the Steel City's struggles will require state intervention on multiple levels to dig out of the fiscal disaster in which it finds itself.

Prince is wise to begin forging a relationship with Holcomb.

Keep reading for FREE!
Enjoy more articles by signing up or logging in. No credit card required.

A number of our past editorials have criticized the leadership of incumbent Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson, who Prince defeated in the May primary.

Fiscal scandals and failed promises, in part, defined her tenure.

But one thing she did very well was forging a strong relationship with Holcomb's office.

The governor remains very complimentary of Freeman-Wilson in social and political circles, and he also appointed her to the newly constituted board overseeing Region commuter rail. She's also been on international trade missions with the governor, helping to represent Indiana economic interests.

For his part, Prince already has taken important stands on behalf of Gary residents, including opposing a shortsighted plan to sell the city's public safety building to a nonprofit entity and then lease it back, with subprime, high-interest loans as the payment plan. The plan is nothing but a shell game that will cost taxpayers dearly in the long run.

Prince still must await the general election, in which he is running unopposed, and then be sworn in before he can assume the Gary mayoral seat in 2020.

But his efforts to get out ahead of his challenges by laying early foundations should be an encouraging sign for the entire Region.