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Saturday, February 27, 2021

Appreciating the work of Carolene Mays

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This week two Indiana greats announced that they’d be leaving their current positions. The first was longtime Sen. Evan Bayh who plans to retire at the end of this year.

The second person to reveal a career change was Recorder Publisher and President Carolene Mays.

As much as I respect our esteemed senator, I’d be a liar if I didn’t say that I was most affected by the latter announcement.

As I type these words, I’m going to forego the formal Associated Press style of writing and just speak (or type) from my heart.

For years Carolene has been engrossed in the community. Her community involvement and participation on non-profit boards were of the utmost importance to her even before she began working at the Indianapolis Recorder.

Many of you know of her experience as a victim of domestic violence. While I’m sure that period of her life was incredibly painful and even scary, through her faith in God she was able to leave her abusive ex-husband. Enduring domestic violence isn’t something that people are proud of, nor is it a topic that’s easy to discuss. However, in true Carolene fashion, she turned a negative situation into something positive by not only sharing her story with the public, but also equipping domestic violence victims with the tools needed to become domestic violence survivors.

That alone says a lot about Carolene Mays. Her passion to serve, willingness to mentor, profound political experience and astute business acumen says even more.

Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to learn and grow from one of the smartest and most business-savvy women in this state. While some of you may dismiss my remarks as “buttering up” or even “kissing a*#,” those who know Carolene – who truly know Carolene, understand my perspective.

When Carolene began her tenure at the Recorder, the company was in tremendous debt, but within a year she devised and implemented a plan that took the numbers from red to black – all within 12 months. That type of success doesn’t happen on a fluke – it happens because of skill, tenacity and, of course, prayer.

Over the years Carolene’s leadership has helped the paper evolve in ways that many probably thought would never happen – it’s because of her and our dedicated staff that this publication is not only profitable, but also viable.

Legislatively, Carolene worked just as hard as she did at the paper. Because I was able to work so closely with her during her years as a state representative, I was exposed to so many aspects of the political arena. So much so that I’ve become a bit disillusioned with the entire political process. It’s unfortunate how some politicians make deals and determine laws based on their personal gain rather than act in the best interest of their constituents. This happens with all levels of government. Carolene wasn’t that type of politician. Many of you will remember her ability to effectively work on both sides of the political aisle. She was never one to vote on agendas because the majority did so; instead she voted on items that made the most sense for the people she served. As a state representative, Carolene never rested on her laurels – she always went above and beyond; whether it was doing something as simple as responding to calls and letters from her constituents or something major like enacting important health care legislation.

Many of today’s elected officials should be ashamed of their lackadaisical approach to politics and their constituents. It saddens me to know that for some, serving themselves is more important than serving the public.

I’m not writing any of these things because I was told to, nor am I doing so for any ulterior motive. Rather I’m writing these things because they are true. Too often our race “hates” on one another. I’m so tired of the crab in the barrel syndrome that many of us seem to suffer from – we’re often trying to pull each other down instead of lifting each other up.

This editorial is my way to lift Carolene up for all the wonderful and positive things she’s done for this community. I hope as you see her in the coming days, you’ll do the same.

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