Hammond, Indiana, Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. is an avid supporter of Hillary Clinton’s quest for the Democratic Party’s nomination. And he has a beef.

Elections Board Director Sally LaSota and Lake County Elections Supervisor Michelle Fajman said Gary [Indiana] school officials notified them last week all high school students registered to vote would be bused to Crown Point [to vote early] this week.

For the last three years, the Gary schools have bused students to polling places as an exercise in learning civics and as part of their mandatory ‘government economics’ requirement. But this year there is a black man on the ballot, and that is upsetting to the Mayor of Hammond.

Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr., a supporter of Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton denounced it Wednesday as a shameless political power play.

“To me it seems like an orchestrated effort on behalf of the Obama campaign to take kids who should be in school learning to read and write, instead giving them a day off and telling them to vote for Obama.

“When you corral kids together and ship them to polling places, it’s completely unethical. I think Sen. Obama should distance himself from this type of behavior,” McDermott said.

Of course, the Obama campaign did no such thing.

Kevin Griffis, a spokesman for U.S. Sen. Barack Obama’s Hoosier campaign, responded, “Those comments don’t reflect the facts and shouldn’t we be applauding our schools for encouraging our children to get involved in their civic duties?”

The Gary schools are heavily black, which explains Mayor McDermott’s angst. But he has another problem.

McDermott, whose city hosted Hillary Clinton’s March 28 visit to the region, disagrees. “These kids come from the worst performing schools in the state of Indiana and we are giving them a day off to go vote for Obama. They can vote on election day like everybody else.”

It’s kind of hard to be charitable with a comment like that. He is saying that these kids are too stupid to vote, is he not? But, evidently, McDermott doesn’t think they’re too stupid to vote for Obama en masse.

You can contact Mayor McDermott here:

Hammond City Hall, 2nd Floor
5925 Calumet Avenue
Hammond, IN 46320
Phone: 219-853-6301

Office Hours
Monday through Friday
8:30am – 4:30pm


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