Rev Michael Values
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I am tired of the same ineffective, disruptive, corrupt administrations that have held Portage back for too long. We deserve a city that prioritizes our needs and provides us with the opportunities and services we deserve. That’s why I, Reverend Michael Cooper, am running as your Green Candidate for mayor.

As a reverend and community leader, I have been a vocal advocate for social justice, ethical government, and environmental protection. I have served on local boards and commissions, where I have used my voice to promote the quality of life and sustainability of our community. Whether it was speaking up for the protection of Willow Creek, challenging the development of a lead-casting plant next to Countryside Park, or raising concerns about the pet road projects that would cost taxpayers an additional 30%, I have always put the needs of Portage first. Expect to see me going door-to-door, engaging with our fellow neighbors, and asking for input on how we can best improve Portage for both families and businesses.

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I am running to be your mayor because I share your hope for a strong, diverse, and growing Portage. I know that we have challenges, both personal and public, but I believe that together, we can overcome them. That’s why I am committed to a new green vision for our city, built on the pillars of the environment, green jobs, diversity, inclusion, community development, the arts, and education.

As a resident of Portage for over a decade, I have witnessed the stagnation of our city and the lack of progress in embracing the future. While new half-million-dollar home subdivisions have been developed, the older, affordable neighborhoods have been ignored and left without proper infrastructure, quality of life, and economic development. That’s why I am running for mayor, to refocus the city’s efforts on improving the experience of our residents, businesses, and visitors.

I am passionate about creating opportunities for education and community advancement in trades, traditional crafts, and the arts. I want to bring the social services that our residents need to improve all areas of our city with equity. Portage is a large and diverse city situated in a National Park, and I believe that positions us to be a driving force for green development and green jobs.

As I walked door-to-door, gathering signatures to run as a Green Party candidate, I had the opportunity to talk to many people in all parts of Portage. I listened to their concerns and their disappointment with the current state of politics in our city. Their voices inspired me to work towards a shift in how we manage our city.

I am not tied to the personalities that have held Portage back in the past; instead, I am part of a new, progressive force focused on putting Portage back on track as a city of values. I encourage you to check out my value statements and see that my values align with yours. Let’s make November 5th the day we push Portage forward by electing me, Rev. Michael Cooper, as your next mayor.

Rev. Michael Cooper and Ray

The upcoming elections will be key to the future of Portage. It is time to change the way we are represented and the values that move our city forward. As a fresh voice promoting a more diverse and mature future, I stand with you in making Portage a place where families like yours can live, work, learn, and play. 

On many occasions, I have stood before our City Council as a private citizen addressing the concerns of residents, and on every occasion, I left disappointed in the elected officials in our city. It’s time to move beyond those who have lost connection with what Portage is today and vote for a fresh voice. 

I believe that Portage can be a place where all families can thrive, and I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and work with you to make that happen. As your mayor, I’ll focus on:

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Making Portage the region’s driving force for Green Jobs and Technology

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Amplifying city services and community development within all neighborhoods

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Rebuilding our dismantled community arts and adult education programs

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Providing the assurance to all our residents that their basic Human Rights are secured

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Embracing the diversity of our city.

But my vision for a better Portage can only be achieved with your help. I need you to get involved in this election and the policies shaping our city’s future. If elected, I’ll work to bring a more diverse and representative group of citizens into the decision-making process and move beyond the politics of personalities that have held us back for too long.

Together, let’s create a new, green vision for Portage; from building better relationships within our diverse communities to improving city services in our neighborhoods, we will move beyond the politics of personalities that have burdened our city. Join me in this movement for a better future for our city.

Michael is an active leader in our local community with a passion for the environment, human rights and community development. A native of North Carolina he came to the Midwest to attend graduate school in Chicago and returned to the beautiful dunes of Lake Michigan over a decade ago. Michael has extensive experience in non-profit management, advocacy organizations, accounting, finance and design.

After a demoralizing expreience trying to get a compressive human rights ordinance through the Democratic controlled Portage City Council, Michael ran in 2019 for his city council district seat. He placed second with 33% of the vote as a third-party Green candidate. That was an accomplishment he credits to his extensive door-to-door campaign strategy that focused on speaking directly to the residents of Portage’s second district. Since 2019 Rev. Michael served for a year on the Portage Ethics Commission as well as regularly attending the Portage Plan Commission and the Board of Zoning Appeals meetings to speak out for protecting our wetlands and our public health.

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    Grow the Campaign

    Aside with local efforts with the Northwest Indiana Green Party, Michael was previously served as treasurer of the Indiana Green Party and is currently their elected Communications Director. He is also a member of the NWI Medicare for All group that meets monthly at Steelworker Hall. Michael looks forward to working with other Greens around the region seeking to bring our progressive values to our local governments.

    Voting Locations

    Top Priorities
    Affordable Housing
    Parks
    Affordable Childcare
    Guns and Gun Shops
    Schools
    Strategic Plan

    Employee Safety
    Our city’s greatest assets are our public employees and making sure that each one goes home safe after work is my number one priority. A culture of safety has been the proud hallmark of our Indiana manufacturing sector where I have worked for many years. It is a culture that revolves around listening to concerns of employees, a review of incidences and meaningful corrective action plans. I will resource our strong manufacturing, healthcare and industrial sectors for implementing the best practices for safety across our hard-working public workforce.
     
    Quality of Life
    To make Portage the greatest place to live in Northwest Indiana means we have to improve the quality of our neighborhoods and communities. This includes a focus on green spaces, increasing areas of public recreation and developing programs in the arts, traditional crafts and adult education. As Portage grows along US 6 corridor our city planning has the opportunity to create conservation areas to break-up the suburbia, McMansion planning that is being built. Also, as my administration focuses on the redevelopment along our western corridor and Willow Creek (the actual creek and not the road), our goal will be to maintain the rich canopy of trees and wildlife that define beauty and uniqueness of our west side. 
     
    Making Portage the Gateway into the National Park
    It is time for Portage to position itself as the gateway into the Indiana Dunes National Park and not yield those tourism dollars to Chesterton. Not only can Portage claim the majority of National Park lands within our city limits but Portage also has the largest amount of adjacent hospitality and commercial businesses. These areas should be used to leverage a growing hospitality economy. Yet rather than creating synergy among the hotels, the city approved the large semi-truck modification facility that is being built between two of them. This means our northern corridor has lost the incentives for existing properties to expense the capital for upgrades. It also decreases the attractiveness to developers of higher-end hotels and restaurants that might be interested in investing in Portage, so they will look to other areas around the National Park to create their jobs. While communities in Lake County have invested in making Burns Waterway a focal point for canoeing and recreation, the current administration in Portage put out plans to sell (for use as a truck parking lot) lands that former Mayor Doug Olson set aside as part of a visionary, conservation focused Northside planned urban development that was to be a place to “Live, Work and Play”. I am committed to restoring that grand vision for our Northside and bring quality recreational uses around the National Park.

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