If Congressional candidate Jeannine Lee Lake is anything, it’s persistent. The two-time congressional candidate is gearing up for a third go at a seat in the United States Congress.
In 2018 and 2020, Lake ran against Greg Pence and fared decently, earning over 30 percent of the vote in 2018. That’s not bad for a Democrat running in the historically right-leaning Indiana District 6.
Lake is feeling even more confident this time. Since 2020, Indiana’s congressional districts were redrawn, moving Lake from Indiana’s 6th to 5th district.
This time she will face off against incumbent Republican candidate Victoria Spartz. Spartz won her seat by only a bit over five percent in 2020, so she is vulnerable.
Jeannine Lee Lake’s New District
“Did you move?” I asked during our phone interview. “You must have moved since 2020.”
“No,” Lake laughed. “I didn’t move. I stayed right where I’ve been. The lines moved.”
In the fall of 2021, a Republican-dominated Indiana State Legislature released new redistricting plans.
These plans dictated that the heavily Republican area of Johnson County was gained for the 6th District. The heavily Democrat Marion and Boone counties were lost for the 5th District, where Republican candidate Victoria Spartz lost badly in the 2020 election.
“No Democrat would look at [the new redistricting plans] and think ‘I can win there!'” Lake told me.
Luckily, Lake isn’t any Democrat. And the gerrymandering isn’t throwing her. “I’m enjoying getting to know new people, it’s been a blessing.”
A Brief History of Jeannine Lee Lake
Jeannine Lee Lake grew up in Crawfordsville, Indiana, as one of fifteen children. Her parents, Clarence and Betty Lee, were extraordinarily hard workers who resented government hand-outs.
Lake is a passionate and vocal Christian. She was raised in a devout family, where her father, two grandfathers, and eight Lee siblings were ministers.
Jeannine earned her journalism degree from Ball State. She spent fifteen years working as a journalist. She covered a variety of beats including the courtroom, business, and education.
She wrote for USA Today in Washington, D.C., with a Pulitzer-winning team under the legendary Sam LaSpada. Lake came back home when her mother became sick and worked at The Star Press in Muncie.
Jeannine is a community organizer and small business owner. She currently runs the Elite Media Group which publishes The Good News, a positive and religious news organization.
Lake also chairs the non-profit Feed My Sheep, an organization that distributes food for Thanksgiving.
A Recap of Lake’s 2020 Platform
In 2020, Lake ran on a platform focused on equality and access. Jeannine championed:
- Raising the minimum wage to $10 an hour
- Keeping current manufacturing jobs here, holding outsourcing and automation at bay with more tax breaks for American businesses
- Increasing access to healthcare and education via Medicaid For All, tuition-free public colleges, student loan forgiveness, and expanded financial education
- The creation of hate crime laws
Jeannine Lee Lake Platform for 2022
Lake continues to advocate these stances in 2022 but now thinks the minimum wage should be closer to $15 an hour.
“I give my babysitter $10 an hour!” she laughs. “What are we?! Americans have to live not only paycheck to paycheck, but have to decide [between] food and safe housing.”
Jeannine maintains that her economic goals can be reached through fiscal conservatism. Lake doesn’t think taxpayers should be paying more, she thinks the government should be better stewards of our money.
“During the pandemic, the government starts a space force while Americans are sitting in McDonald’s parking lots, trying to get broadband internet,” she scoffs. I can practically hear her roll her eyes.
Lake would like to inspect governmental departments, looking for overlap to cut costs.
“I’m very, very fiscally conservative and I know how to stretch a dollar. I come from a large family and raised four kids. If I know anything, it’s how to squeeze a penny.”
Jeannine Lee Lake and Bodily Autonomy
The overturning of Roe v. Wade lit a fire under Jeannine concerning the freedom of choice. She told me, “We thought we had freedom over our bodies but men are making the rules.”
“Listen, I’m against vaccine mandates as much as I am the overturning of Roe v. Wade, both [issues] are government overreach.”
Jeannine Lee Lake has been transparent on the campaign trail about her own abortion story. She became pregnant at 18 after being raped at a party and subsequently had an abortion.
But she also told me how this terrible incident caused her to, at the time, lose her faith.
A Crisis of Faith
Growing up, Lake was very involved in her family’s church but abandoned her faith after the violence done to her.
For ten years, Jeannine was “just about working hard and getting money, with no desire to help others or obey God.”
Lake reluctantly attended a religious conference when she was 28. As a bishop moved through the crowd, attendees began falling left and right.
“I’m not gonna fall,” she told herself. The next thing she knew, she was on the ground. “I heard a voice say, ‘I love you, I see your pain, and that bad thing that happened to you was someone else’s choice.'” Jeannine immediately felt a deep peace and abiding love.
With that spiritual rebirth came a resolve to help others. Lake credits this resolve with why she became a community advocate and organizer and why she’s running for office today.
Jeannine Lee Lake, The Moderate
Jeannine wants voters to understand that she’s moderate. And she suspects you are, too.
“Indiana is not as red as political pundits want you to believe. In polling about economic policies, healthcare, and women’s rights, [Hoosiers] are mostly centrist.”
Jeannine worries that we lose sight of our common ground when “the loudest voices have the most extreme views.”
And that brings us to Lake’s 2022 opponent, the incumbent Congresswoman Victoria Spartz. “Victoria Spartz, to me, she represents extremism, and I don’t think there’s really a place on either side for extremism,” Jeannine told the Indy Star.
A Brief History of Victoria Spartz
Victoria Spartz is the first Ukrainian-born female member of Congress. She immigrated to the United States in 2000 and is the first member born in a former soviet republic. Spartz began her political career as a founding member of the Hamilton County Tea Party.
She briefly served as the CFO for the Indiana Attorney General’s office and gained her first public office when she was appointed to a vacant Indiana Senate seat in 2017.
In November 2020, Spartz won the general election, defeating Democratic nominee Christina Hale by only four points.
This was the closest race in the district since 1983.
Platform Differences Between Lake and Spartz
While both women share a fiscally conservative view, differences can be seen in their support of social policies.
Lake is staunchly pro-choice. Her own abortion story has influenced her views of female bodily autonomy concerning abortion access. Spartz voted against abortion access during her first term. She voted against the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2021.
Spartz also voted against the Build Back Better Act and other Democrat-proposed legislation involving the economy. In contrast, Lake supports the Build Back Better Act. She believes that it will help those left behind by the current economy.
A comprehensive listing of Victoria Spartz’s voting record can be found here.
Further Reading About Victoria Spartz
- Profit from real estate deals helping Spartz fund congressional campaign
- Amid an uproar over Capitol staff mistreatment, meet the House’s ‘worst boss’
- Juggling Trump and War, Congress’s Only Ukrainian-Born Member Has Some Demands
- Ukraine Foreign Ministry blasts Rep. Victoria Spartz’s ‘cynical’ allegations
- ‘Bull in a china shop’: Ukrainian-born GOP lawmaker rankles colleagues with her aggressive criticism of Kyiv
How To Reach (and Donate to) Jeannine Lee Lake
The 2022 election has already started with early in-person voting available from October 12 to November 7, 2022. The most direct way you can help Jeannine Lee Lake is by donating to her campaign at her campaign website.
Jeannine Lee Lake is a refreshingly down-to-earth candidate, beholden to no one, who genuinely cares about her constituents.
Jeannine is not only a strong Black woman. She is a strong Hoosier who will fight for what’s right. With your help, Jeannine will be the next Congresswoman from Indiana’s 5th district.