Dr. Woody Myers was selected on June 2 as the Democratic gubernatorial candidate for Indiana in the primary election. He is running against Republican incumbent Eric Holcomb. He announced his running mate, Linda Lawson, on May 8.
Myers’ background includes experience as a physician, Indiana state health commissioner, Health Commissioner for New York City, public leader in AIDS education and more. Myers ran in the 2008 elections for the U.S. House of Representatives in Indiana’s 7th congressional district. He came in second place in the primary to incumbent André Carson.
Lindsay Haake, communications co-director for Myer's campaign, said Myers’ health care background is one that Indiana cannot afford to pass up given the coronavirus pandemic.
“Government is there to serve the people,” Myers said. “Government is there for public safety. Government is there to help people who need help.”
Myers said his family is a big motivation for him to run for governor. He said he wants his grandchildren and future generations to solve new problems as they arise, rather than solving pre-existing ones.
Myers said some of the issues he hopes to tackle first if elected include funding K-12 education, ensuring better salaries for teachers, effectively dealing with COVID-19 and addressing environmental concerns.
Myers’ running mate Linda Lawson was a member of Indiana’s House of Representatives and served as House minority leader. Lawson also spent 12 years on the Hammond School Board and was the first female police officer in Hammond.
“She has a fantastic track record in public service,” Myers said. “She’s gutsy, and she has the heart of a lioness.”
Junior Alessia Modjarrad said she thinks Gov. Holcomb and Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch’s first four years in office lacked real action. Modjarrad is the president of College Democrats at IU and deputy political director for Myers’ campaign.
Although Myers is running against an incumbent, Modjarrad said she believes there is a chance for Myers to win because more Indiana residents may feel inclined to vote for presidential candidate Joe Biden, influencing the gubernatorial election outcome.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re an incumbent, incumbents have to show results,” Modjarrad said. “Holcomb has not done that, and Woody will.”
Myers is leading a historic campaign as he would be the first Black governor in Indiana, Modjarrad said. She said she believes Myers will be able to use his experiences as a Black man to lead the state in light of the human rights movement Black Lives Matter.
Modjarrad said she believes this election will also have long-term effects on public education, climate change and redistricting in Indiana. State legislators elected in November will determine district lines for the next 10 years following the 2020 census.
Junior Geneva Mazhandu said over the past four years Gov. Holcomb has done a great job helping Hoosiers and tackling different crises like the coronavirus pandemic. Mazhandu is the southwest vice chair and communications chair for the Indiana Federation of College Republicans.
Mazhandu said she thinks Indiana’s response to COVID-19 was good, but local leadership was the source of less ideal responses, such as in her hometown of Indianapolis.
Mazhandu said she believes Myers would bring upheaval and policy changes to Indiana if he were elected, damaging the connection between the governor and the Indiana General Assembly, which is currently majority Republican in both chambers. She said she thinks Gov. Holcomb being reelected would bring stability to the state in a time with many uncertainties.
Modjarrad and Mazhandu both stressed the importance of voting in the upcoming elections. They said IU students can make a huge difference with their vote.
“I want to advocate for students to get out and vote,” Mazhandu said.