Gina Leichty elected as Goshen’s first female mayor

Published: Nov. 7, 2023 at 10:07 PM EST
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GOSHEN, Ind. (WNDU) - The mayor’s race in Goshen has been nothing if not interesting.

Earlier this year, when then-Mayor Jeremy Stutsman announced he was stepping aside in the middle of his term, nobody saw it coming.

Gina Leichty was hastily installed as interim mayor, but now she is interim no more.

Leichty defeated Republican newcomer Benjamin Rogers to become Goshen’s first female mayor. According to the unofficial results, she won with 54% of the vote.

Rogers was cheerfully pressing the flesh early on Election Day. The 29-year-old was the very picture of optimism as he stood outside Greene Road Church and spoke about the process.

“Win or lose, though, it’s been a good process,” he said. “We’ve been able to drive issues that we want to talk about back again to the surface here in this city.”

But shortly after sunset, you could already feel a wave of energy in Goshen’s Ignition Music Garage. The popular music store filled with vintage vinyl was transformed into Democratic headquarters on this election night.

Within hours of the polls closing, the crowd became increasingly buoyant as they watched 16 News Now’s website. That’s when Stutsman took the stage and introduced Leichty as the first woman and the 31st mayor of the city of Goshen.

As the first female mayor of Goshen began to address the crowd, her predecessor quipped that she was not the first mayor to wear earrings, joking about his own habit of wearing earrings. For her part, Leichty took a playful jab at her predecessor — acknowledging what a tough act he’ll be to follow.

“And with the support of Jeremy — also had you not been a quitter — there is nothing else that would have compelled me to step forward and try to fill those giant shoes,” Leichty said.

This long-serving public servant made it clear Tuesday night that there would be no time to take a break from serving her city.

“Since stepping into office in June of this year, I’ve really enjoyed the experience of being mayor, and I certainly look forward to continuing to do that,” Leichty said. “And the first thing is getting back to work.”

Leichty pointed out that she’s been running a campaign while also devoting 70-80 hours a week to “mayor stuff.” It’s safe to conclude she’s eager to return to mayoral duties alone.

“I’ve been grateful to have that experience and take my 20 years of experience that I’ve also had a partner to the city to bring to the position and bring to my candidacy, and I look forward to continuing to serve the city well, and the people of Goshen have convinced me long ago that this is the community where I want to dedicate my time, energy, and effort to continuing to make this the best city in Indiana,” Leichty said.