Meet the Candidates: Karen White, South Bend Common Council At-Large

Service to family, community, and education are the hallmarks of my life’s journey.  I attended Harrison Elementary School and graduated from Central High School.  I received my Bachelor’s Degree in psychology and social work from Indiana State University, Terre Haute, and my Master’s in Education from Indiana University Bloomington.  I am the former Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Services/Dean of Students at Indiana University South Bend where I served for more than 40 years in various high-level administrative positions.

As a member of the South Bend Common Council, I have been Council President, Vice President, Chairperson of the Committee of the Whole, Chairs of the Neighborhood and Residential Committee, Health and Public Safety, and was recently asked to serve as Vice President.  As Chair of the Personnel and Finance Committee the FY 2019 recommended budget was discussed and adopted by a unanimous vote. 

I believe in public service and the importance of bringing transparency to government processes.  I value creating opportunities for public discourse and promoting civic engagement.

I have earned the respect of the community based upon my experience and my willingness to tackle tough issues and my ability to approach decisions from a holistic viewpoint rather than using a one-issue point of view.   I am a stable and experienced strong voice on the council.  If re-elected I will be the senior Council Member. 

I am seeking re-election for a number of reasons.  The 2019 elections will bring many changes for our city.  Having an experienced and proven leader is important as we continue to work together for all of South Bend.  We have accomplished much, but much remains to be done.  Based upon my record of working successfully with others, I am confident that we can tackle the remaining work, together. 

My top priorities if re-elected will be:

  • Continue to build upon our progress.
  • Address the challenges facing our neighborhoods.  
  • Improve housing opportunities by creating and preserving decent, safe, and affordable rental and homeowner housing.
  • Expand homeownership opportunities for low-to-moderate income families.
  • Expand the Light Up South Bend, and Curbs and Sidewalks programs.
  • Strengthen neighborhoods by investing in infrastructure, and public facilities.
  • Develop collaborative strategies with the South Bend Police Dept. and neighborhoods to expand and enhance a relationship based upon mutual respect and trust.
  • Support job creation, small business development, and training for residents.

I am a firm believer that our city cannot be a great city without great neighborhoods. Our city cannot be a great city until all citizens are fully engaged.  Our city cannot be a great city until citizens’ voices are heard. 

I will also focus on public safety, with specific attention towards violence reduction, community policing and recruitment, aging infrastructure, and strategic collaboration with our public schools, all of which are vital to creating great neighborhoods.

South Bend is the city I love and a city I am proud to call home.

Meet the Candidates is a series introducing candidates in their own words. South Bend Voice has offered to publish statements from all South Bend office seekers who are on the May 7th primary ballot. Statements are posted verbatim. Find out more about the candidates on the ballot at

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