New INDems Party Officers: Mike Schmuhl (Chair), Myla Eldridge (Vice Chair), Rick Sutton (Secretary), Henry Fernandez (Treasurer)
INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Democratic Party, the organization that advocates for the future of Indiana and its families, today celebrated the elections of its new party officers: Mike Schmuhl as Chairman, Marion County Clerk Myla Eldridge as Vice Chair, Rick Sutton as Secretary, and Henry Fernandez as Treasurer. The party officers reached a majority threshold vote by the Party’s State Central Committee (SCC) during what is the official reorganization for the Indiana Democratic Party.
With the elections now over, Chairman Schmuhl, Vice-Chair Eldridge, and the rest of the Party’s officers will help lead the Indiana Democratic Party toward building a better future for Indiana. That includes making enhanced investments in the Party’s infrastructure, installing an accountability program against the Indiana Republican Party, recruiting the next generation of Democratic leaders, and raising the resources required to help make the state party a leading voice across Indiana.
“It’s an honor to have the full support of our Indiana Democratic Party’s diverse leadership as we work together on creating a brighter and better future for Indiana and its families,” said Mike Schmuhl, Chairman of the Indiana Democratic Party. “Democrats across our state are ready for a fresh vision supported by strategic planning, long-term investment, grassroots organizing, and a clear message that offers all Hoosiers a better life, regardless of where they live. I’m ready to get to work and I look forward to helping elect great Democrats up and down the ballot as we chart a new course.”
“As Marion County’s Clerk, I know the impact just one election can have on a community, a city, and an entire state,” said Myla Eldridge, Vice Chair of the Indiana Democratic Party. “I look forward to helping Mike execute our platform so that we can benefit the daily lives of Indiana residents and get more people involved in the democratic process. It’s time to get to work, and I ask all Hoosiers to join us in this effort.”
The Indiana Democratic Party is excited about what’s to come and what it could mean for Hoosiers who are fed up with an Indiana Republican Party and an ideology that provides no vision for the future of Indiana. To learn a little more about the newly elected officers for the Indiana Democratic Party, please see the following biographies below:
Mike Schmuhl – Chairman
Mike Schmuhl is an organizer, manager, and leader, who has been actively involved in Hoosier politics for the past decade.
During the 2020 electoral cycle, Mike was the national campaign manager of Pete for America, Pete Buttigieg’s groundbreaking presidential campaign and the largest political campaign in Indiana history. The first employee of the campaign, he eventually built and led an organization of nearly 600 team members with over $100 million in resources. Buttigieg became the first LGBTQ presidential candidate to be awarded delegates in American history after winning the Iowa caucuses. Buttigieg now serves as the Secretary of Transportation in the Joe Biden-Kamala Harris Administration.
A native of South Bend, Mike has worked on campaigns for former U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly (2010), State Senator Shelli Yoder (2016), and businessman Mel Hall (2018). He served as Buttigieg’s first chief of staff in South Bend after running his campaign for mayor in 2011. Schmuhl was the elected the 2nd Congressional District Democratic chairman from 2011 to 2013, becoming the youngest member of the state central committee at the time with full voting rights.
Previously, Mike was vice president at the Democratic consulting firm 270 Strategies in Chicago, where he advised nonprofits, issue-based causes, and labor unions. Before working in politics, he worked in the newsroom of The Washington Post as a producer and booker for broadcast outlets. He also interned for the late Tim Russert at NBC News’ Meet the Press.
Mike received a BA in History from the University of Notre Dame and a MA in International Affairs from Sciences Po in Paris, France.
Myla Eldridge – Vice-Chair and Marion County Clerk
Myla A. Eldridge was elected as the first African American Marion County Clerk during the 2014 General Election, and re-elected during the 2018 General Election. Clerk Eldridge brings thirty years of government administration to the Marion County Clerk’s Office. As Clerk, Ms. Eldridge has saved taxpayers over a quarter of a million dollars by smart-sizing the Clerk’s Office. Clerk Eldridge has also overseen the transition to vote centers which allows voters to cast a ballot at any polling place in the county on Election Day, and allows voters to vote at the most early satellite voting locations in the history of Marion County during General Elections.
In her capacity as Marion County Clerk, Ms. Eldridge serves as the Secretary of the Marion County Election Board; Member of the Enhanced Access Review Committee; Member of the City of Indianapolis’ IT Board; and Member of the Criminal Justice Planning Council in which she serves as the Chair.
Rick Sutton – Secretary
Rick Sutton is a lifelong Hoosier, a Blackford County native who’s resided in Indianapolis since 1981. He’s been active in Marion County, serving as a PC and ward chair, and was a township chair. He served a term as vice chair of the inaugural Indiana Real Estate Appraisal Board of Practices and Licensing, appointed by Gov. Bayh. He also was elected twice to a school board seat, and has been very active at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church. He’s serving as party secretary and president of Indiana Stonewall Dems. He led the fight for marriage equality as president of Freedom Indiana. Last yer, he stepped in for longtme friend Linda Lawson, to manage her LG campaign.
He is the proud father of three adult children and grandfather of two. He is married to Bobby Owens, a Purdue football alum. He is a life member of the IU Alumni Association.
Henry Fernandez, Ed.D. – Treasurer
Recognized as an accomplished educator and an organizational leader, Dr. Henry Fernandez has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to expanding civic participation, particularly for Hispanics.
Reelected in 2021 to a second four-year term as Treasurer of the Indiana Democratic Party (IDP), Fernandez has been deeply involved in governmental, political, and non-profit-sector advocacy and work. Active in the Indiana Democratic Party (IDP) for almost two decades, he has been serving as an elected Marion County precinct-committee person, founding the official Indiana Latino Democratic Caucus (INLDC), attending 8 state conventions as a delegate, and supporting local, state and national candidates. In 2020, Fernandez served on the Biden-Harris campaign’s policy team, was a Biden-pledged national convention delegate, selected to the Electoral College, and served as a Spanish-language media spokesperson. Publicly elected as a Neighborhood Commissioner in the District of Columbia municipal government earlier in his career, he also served for nine years on the boards of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Inst. After relocating to Indiana with his family in 2002, Fernandez was elected to a public-school board serving 15,000 students, twice earning the NEA-affiliate’s endorsement, and breaking a proverbial glass ceiling by becoming Indiana’s first open LGBTQ candidate to win an election with endorsement of the LGBT Victory Fund. Currently he serves on the Indianapolis Board of Public Works, reviewing more than $400 million in contracts annually for road, park, and levee improvements.
Influenced to pursue an education career by his immigrant experience, Fernandez held education positions of increasing responsibility and has visited educational institutions in more than 40 states. He has served as a teacher, school principal, teacher trainer, federal program director, education philanthropist, higher education reform advocate, and government relations specialist for several organizations. Fernandez earned a doctoral degree in education and three master’s degrees from Teachers College, Columbia University. Listed on the Hispanic Business magazine’s list of 100 most influential Latinos, Fernandez was recognized by the National Football League and the Indiana Latino Institute for his work with the Latino community, and was awarded the CHCI medallion of excellence. Fernandez has served on numerous boards, including those for the Central Indiana Community Foundation, Advocates for Youth, Metropolitan School District of Lawrence Township (Indianapolis), Grantmakers for Education, and Indiana Philanthropy Alliance.