Recycling advocate Hamilton seeks to fill Hale’s House seat

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Longtime recycling and environmental advocate Carey Hamilton hopes to be the Democratic candidate to replace Christina Hale in the Indiana Statehouse.

Hale is taking her name off November’s ballot as state representative in her House district to run alongside Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Gregg as he seeks to unseat Republican Gov. Mike Pence in November.

HamiltonCarey Hamilton

“I’m very interested,” Hamilton, 44, said of the chance to serve as the Democratic state representative in House District 87, which covers the northern part of Indianapolis, including parts that run south to the Broad Ripple area and east near Fort Harrison State Park.

Hamilton filed Friday to open her campaign account. She said she would officially file to be part of the process after Hale files the necessary paperwork to remove her name from the ballot. A Democratic Party process consisting of a caucus of precinct committee members of the House district will then form and choose the new Democratic candidate.

Hale plans to fulfill the remainder of her term, which will end in December, but political candidates in Indiana can’t run for two offices at one time, according to Gregg campaign spokesman Jeff Harris. Harris said Hale is "extremely supportive" of Hamilton's candidacy.

Hamilton said she would be an effective legislator who could build consensus around common-sense ideas, but also stand strong “when it comes down to a fight for something.”

“I’ve worked with both sides of the aisle for years,” Hamilton said. “I have a lot of experience in finding common ground.”

Hamilton joined the Indiana Recycling Coalition as its executive director in 2008. She formerly served as director of the state government’s recycling program, as well as the first director of Indiana’s Greening the Government Program.

“We’ve lacked in our environmental profile in the state,” Hamilton said. “What I’ve loved about my job is … we’re supporting Indiana’s manufacturing community that saves on energy costs when they use recycled feed stock. We’ve made some smart decisions and we can have a really positive economic impact in our state. I think we need to hear more of that coming from state leaders.”

She also said she doesn’t think there are enough women in elected offices. She is a mother of two children who attend Washington Township schools. She said she is a public education advocate and “cares deeply about school-funding issues.” Hamilton said she considers herself a "moderate Democrat."

Hamilton and Hale became personal friends after meeting when Hale first ran for office. Hamilton said she is excited for Hale and her opportunity to serve as lieutenant governor if elected.

“I have huge respect for Christina,” Hamilton said. “She’s been an amazing legislator. I really admire her.”

The caucus to name a new candidate in the district will likely take place in mid-June, according to Peter Hanscom, who is serving as the campaigns director for the Indiana House Democratic Caucus.

Hale won her last election in District 87 by about 500 votes and her first election by just 50. However, Hanscom said the district “continues to trend Democratic.”

“This is a district where issues and candidates really matter,” Hanscom said. “Christina’s success has been because she is a pragmatic bipartisan problem-solver and that’s certainly the mold of the candidate that we are looking to support there. We know we can win.”

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