2012 WOMAN OF INFLUENCE: Maggie Lewis

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

President, Indianapolis City-County Council

Sphere of Influence: As an elected member and president of the city’s legislative body, Lewis plays a key role in local government.

lewis-maggie-1col.jpg(IBJ Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

Service to others has been part of Maggie Lewis’ life. As a girl in Columbus, Ind., she watched her single mother take in families who needed a meal or a place to stay.

“They don’t talk about having homeless folks in Columbus, Ind., but there were, and my mom had no problem having them over for dinner and making sure they were OK,” Lewis said. “I think service became important to me from watching my mom over the years.”

These days, Lewis serves extremes. Her day job is executive director of Dove Recovery House for Women, which helps women with a history of substance abuse or addiction become clean, sober and self-sufficient. Lewis said she draws strength from the women “because to be able to throw your hands up and say, ‘You know what? My life is no longer manageable and I need your help’—that takes a lot for a person to humble themselves that way.”

Then there’s her other position as the first female president of the Indianapolis City-County Council.

“The Dove House is at one end of Washington Street, the City-County Building is at the other,” Lewis said. “On some days, I’m going back and forth. At the Dove House, I have ladies who would be happy to have $5 in their pocket. And then when we’re at the City-County Building arguing over thousands of dollars, it helps remind me what’s really important in life.”

Lewis came to politics through service. After earning her bachelor’s degree at Indiana State University, she moved to Indianapolis and became active in political campaigns and neighborhood association work. Although she thinks of herself as someone who likes to fly under the radar, she decided to take the chance at public office. Lewis won a special election in 2008 to replace Cherrish Pryor in the 7th Council District, then was elected to a full term in 2011.

She calls this her “first real term.”

Lewis said she’s proud of what the council has accomplished this year, particularly the smoking ban. She’s also optimistic that council Democrats and Republicans can work together, and work with Mayor Greg Ballard, to take care of the city’s business.

“We talk about building partnerships and relationships and bipartisanship, and now we are forced to do that because we have split government for the second time in Unigov history,” she said.

When she’s not at work, Lewis is still serving others. Sometimes that means the parish at Mount Paran Baptist Church; sometimes that’s her husband LeRoy III, who was her college sweetheart, and their 6-year-old son, LeRoy IV.

“For me, it is all about serving people,” she said. “It’s good for my soul. It feels good for me to do it. When I’m no longer the president of the City-County Council, my life and my dream will still be about serving other people.”•


Click here to return to the Women of Influence landing page.


Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. What became of this project? Anyone know?

  2. Scott, could you post an enlarged photo of the exterior of the building? This will be a great addition to Walnut Street. This area will only continue to develop with additions like this. Also, please give us more updates on the "Cultural Trail light" expansion. Also a great move for the city, as long as there is maintenance money set aside.

  3. Great story IBJ! Citizens don't have a real sense of the financial magnitude of supporting Indy's sports and tourism sector. The CIB was a brilliant idea for creating a highly integrated public-private partnership to support this sector from the economic activity it generates. Unfortunately, most folks think the benefits of that economic activity accrue directly to the City budget, and it doesn't. So though the CIB is facing lean times (covering its costs while maintaining minimally acceptable reserves), the City is operating with deficit - less tax revenue than expenses each year - with a very fragile reserve balance. That's why it's so challenging for the City to fund basic needs or new intitatives (e.g. pre-k education; new jail), and some credit rating agencies have downgraded Indy from it's past stellar AAA status. More reporting on City finances would be welcomed.

  4. Sure, I'll admit that it bugs me to see that the IBJ.COM censors it's blog posts almost as much as the D of I does when someone points out the falsehoods and fabrications. _____But I think it bothers me almost as much that Captain/Defender/Disciple get his yanked too. You see, those of us with a sense of integrity, humanity, compassion, and a need for fact based opinion WANT to see all of his screeds posted. It makes our point so much better than we can do it ourselves.

  5. We're conflating two very different topics. Voter fraud is a myth and excessive gun violence is all too real. I just hope rational gunowners decide to stop being shouted down by the, well, let's call them "less rational" ones.