Jeannine Lee Lake

August 22


“I’m running for Congress because I believe we all have to stand up right now and fight for progress — for our prosperity and health, our civil rights and civil liberties and our security.”


Ross Thomas

August 21


A Jennings County native who has lived in Columbus for the past 15 years plans to challenge an incumbent in the Indiana General Assembly.

Ross Thomas, 48, has announced his intention to run as a Democrat for the Indiana State Senate in District 41 in the 2018 election. That seat is held by Sen. Greg Walker, R-Columbus.

It will be Thomas’ first attempt at seeking public office. District 41 includes portions of Johnson and Bartholomew counties.

A 1988 graduate of Jennings County High School, Thomas earned his undergraduate degree in political economy in 1992. Two years later, he received his law degree from the Indiana University School of Law. He has a law practice in Indianapolis.

The state legislature is out of touch with the needs of working families struggling with stagnant wages, crumbling infrastructure and embattled public schools, Thomas said.

“Those we have elected to serve us seem more concerned with pleasing lobbyists and helping their friends and donors than solving problems for the rest of us,” Thomas said.

While state employees must adhere to strict rules regarding accepting gifts, Thomas said he was surprised to learn a few years ago that there are few restrictions concerning gifts given to state lawmakers by lobbyists.

“Fancy dinners, tickets to sporting events and other gifts are just a normal part of business as usual at the State Capitol,” Thomas said. “They shouldn’t be doing that, and we need to change our laws to end this activity.”

While Indiana has made improvements in job numbers, it has failed to keep up with neighboring states in terms of wages, he said.

Thomas cites Right to Work legislation and the repeal of the Common Construction Wage as two examples of a state government that promotes a race to the bottom in terms of wages.

“If wages don’t keep up, the number of employed doesn’t mean a lot,” said Thomas, who supports an increase in the state’s minimum wage. “We must also invest in career training, infrastructure and education in order to attract and retain good-paying jobs.”

Another priority outlined by Thomas is to provide public school teachers and administrators the resources they need, with less focus on standardized testing and more classroom time spent on actual learning.

“We must end the failed policy that gives tax dollars to private charter and voucher schools, which push profits to investors while failing to deliver on the promise of a high-quality education,” Thomas said.


Hanna Omar

August 21


A community leader and former educator who now works in the finance industry is running as a Democrat for the District 1 Bartholomew County Council seat held by Republican Chris Ogle, who is not seeking re-election.

Unopposed in the May primary, Hanna Omar, 36, will challenge either Republicans Scott Bonnell or Marcus Speer in the November general election.

A Bartholomew County resident since 2011, Omar works for JP Morgan Chase Bank.

Holding bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Fordham University in New York, Omar received her master’s of business administration from IUPUC, where she served as an adjunct professor of Arabic and political science from 2012 to 2016.

Omar stated she is committed to effective and efficient government, and has concerns about a lack of strategic planning by the county council.

“Everything has been on a whim,” Omar said. “Businesses and nonprofits don’t run that way.”

She is advocating that the county council examine multiple avenues of identifying funds for much-needed infrastructure improvements at the Bartholomew County Courthouse and county highway garage.

“People are beginning to understand that the county needs more leaders with financial backgrounds,” Omar said.

One year after moving to Columbus, Omar was appointed to serve on the Board of Zoning Appeals in Columbus.

A year later, she and her husband, Nebil Omar, co-chaired the Uncommon Cause gala for the Columbus Area Arts Council.

Also in 2013, Omar was named one of the “20 Under 40” upcoming young leaders by the Columbus Young Professionals group.

Last year, Omar received the Benjamin “Mickey” King award for her efforts to make Columbus and Bartholomew a more welcoming community from the Columbus Area Multi-Ethnic Organization.

The most recent Democrat to hold an elected countywide office was Stephen Heimann, who retired as Bartholomew Circuit Court judge at the end of 2016.

But elections to office should not be about party any more than they should be about gender or cultural/religious background, she said.

“It’s about effectiveness,” Omar said. “It’s about having a smarter and well-run government.


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Bartholomew County Democratic Party
The mission of the BCDP is to identify, support and promote the election of democrats at all levels of government who are committed to building and ensuring public policy and an economy that lift up ALL people living in Bartholomew County.