Mayor Pete Endorses Kareemah

Mayor endorses Fowler in clerk's race

By Erin Blasko, The South Bend Tribune

March 30, 2015

SOUTH BEND — Mayor Pete Buttigieg waded into the race for the Democratic nomination for city clerk on Monday, endorsing Deputy Clerk Kareemah Fowler over Common Council member Derek Dieter.

This marks the third major endorsement for Fowler after current Clerk John Voorde, a Democratic candidate for South Bend Common Council, and former South Bend Mayor and Indiana Lt. Gov. Joe Kernan.

“In this race for the extremely important position of South Bend city clerk, (Fowler) has demonstrated her ability to bring people together to get the job done and to get a better future for South Bend,” Buttigieg said.

He deflected questions about whether his decision to endorse Fowler had anything to do with his relationship with Dieter, with whom he has clashed on multiple occasions in the past.

But he noted the importance of the clerk in promoting a positive relationship between the administration and council.

“Too often in recent years we've had a lot of distractions that have taken focus away from the great potential that our community has,” he said. “That's why it's so important in this office to have somebody who is open, who is trustworthy, who is friendly and who is great at bringing people together.”

He said he does not intend to endorse any other primary candidates at this time.

Fowler, who joined the clerk's office in 2010, is a graduate of Riley High School and Bethel College, where she earned a bachelor's degree in organizational management. She previously worked in the county assessor's office.

Responding to the news Monday, Dieter, a retired former South Bend police officer, said he has not solicited any "big-name endorsements."

“I'd like to think that this will be based on who has the most experience in South Bend city government and who has the best plan for the future of the city clerk's office,” he said.

The city clerk is responsible for keeping city records and ordinances, the municipal code book and the city seal. It is the second-highest elected position in the city behind mayor.