About Karen Freeman-Wilson

Karen Freeman-Wilson has been the Mayor of her hometown of Gary, Indiana since January 2012, becoming the first female to lead the city of Gary and the first African-American female Mayor in the state of Indiana. Mayor Freeman-Wilson has served in the public arena most of her professional life having previously served as the Indiana Attorney General, the Director of the Indiana Civil Rights Commission and the presiding judge of the Gary City Court. She is also a leader in the national drug court movement having served as the CEO of the National Association of Drug Court Professionals and Executive Director of the National Drug Court Institute.

Mayor Freeman-Wilson quickly attributes the signs of progress in Gary to the efforts of “Team Gary,” a group that includes city staff, members of other branches of government at the federal, state and local levels and those in the corporate, educational and non-profit arena who have joined the effort to rebuild the city of Gary. Accomplishments include extensive paving, new job creation, the completion of a 100 million dollar airport runway relocation, the creation of Art House: A Social Kitchen, a work of public art and culinary incubator supported through funding from Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Knight Foundation, and the development of key areas in the city including the Miller Beach, Emerson, University Park and Downtown neighborhoods. 

Mayor Freeman-Wilson is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. In November 2018, she was elected President of the National League of Cities. NLC serves the interests of 19,000 cities, towns and villages in the United States. Freeman-Wilson also serves as Chairperson of the Criminal and Social Justice Committee of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and has chaired the committee that authored the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ publication on building police and community trust. Mayor Freeman-Wilson is a member of Israel C.M.E. Church, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., the Links, Inc., the NAACP, the Urban League of Northwest Indiana and the Indiana Bar.

Mayor Freeman-Wilson and her husband Carmen Wilson, II have a blended family of four children. 


Devoted Wife & Mother

1978 Gary Roosevelt Valedictorian

Harvard College & Law School Graduate 

Indiana Attorney General

Gary City Court Judge

Indiana Civil Rights Director

National Drug Court Institute Executive Director

Second Chance Program Founder

Reduction in Crime Rate

Dollar House Program

Completion of Airport Runway

University Park / IUN Teaching Hospital