Anthony Copeland was the seventh child of eleven (11) born to Mr. and Mrs. George and Annie M. Copeland in 1955. Mayor Copeland has been happily married to Carolyn West Copeland for forty-five (45) years. He is the father of four (4) beautiful children, and a proud grandparent of fourteen (14) grandchildren and seven (7) great-grandchildren.
Education & Employment
After graduating from East Chicago Washington High School in 1973, Copeland studied at Columbia and Calumet Colleges. He worked at Inland Steel Company (now known as Cleveland Cliffs) in East Chicago for twelve years as a journeyman pipe fitter and welder, during which time he completed a four (4) year apprenticeship program as a pipe fitter and welder, and was certified by the state of Indiana. As a licensed plumber, Copeland is also a former of A.C.A. Construction Company in East Chicago.
A martial artist and former teacher with a second-degree black belt in Karate, Copeland co-owned and operated Ali Kai Karate School at the Roberto Clemente Center in East Chicago for over eight (8) years. An accomplished photographer, he also owned and operated Copeland Photography Studio in East Chicago for twelve (12) years.
In addition to serving as former City Democratic Party Chairman, Councilman at Large, and Finance Committee Chair of the East Chicago Common Council, Copeland also served proudly as an East Chicago firefighter for twenty-six (26) years. He achieved the rank of District Chief before advancing to the Fire Inspection Bureau.
In his long career as a community activist, Copeland has served as a member and leader of local organizations to improve the community. Copeland was a member of Citizens in Action for sixteen (16) years and served as its president for five (5) years; and was former President of the East Chicago branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
Citizens in Action’s mission was to provide the public information, bring forward solutions, and make city government accountable to its people. During Copeland’s tenure with Citizens in Action, the organization successfully fought on behalf of the residents of East Chicago to reduce the cost of the new East Chicago Public Safety building located at 2301 E Columbus Drive, from $55 million down to $28 million. Citizens in Action actively worked to address environmental problems within the City, as well as the issue of crime and worked against bloated city spending.
Long known for his years of fighting for an elected school board, accountability, and fairness, Copeland vowed to continue the fight for reform in East Chicago – targeting transparency in City financing and fairness in taxation. As a lifelong resident of East Chicago, Mayor Anthony Copeland served as a community activist and a rising leader prior to being elected in 2010. Serving in the role of an activist and leader, Mayor Copeland has and continues to quote: “I love my City… I live, breathe, and bleed East Chicago…My heart is here…My family is here… and I want to make this City a better place to live for your family and mine.”
Elected as Mayor
During a Caucus held on October 16, 2010, East Chicago entered into a new era in City Government, and history was made by electing the first African American Mayor in the City of East Chicago. Since being elected as mayor, he has continued to be passionate in his role as an elected public servant providing a performance-driven approach, creating a more responsive structure, and streamlining an efficient delivery of city services while shoring up the City’s financial future. Under his leadership, the residents of East Chicago voted for an elected School Board which continues today; as well as succeeded to balance the City’s budget, which was in a $15 million deficit in 2010.
Mayor Copeland continues his quest to maintain a balanced budget with a yearly increasing surplus, provide yearly pay increases and bonuses to employees; improve infrastructure and roads, revitalize and beautify the City’s lakefront and public ways; provide business and homeownership opportunities City-wide; continue efforts to secure a solid foundation for future generations…our children; and overall progressing our City to a safer and more viable community.
Mayor Copeland will be seeking his fourth (4th) mayoral term in 2023 to continue to serve the citizens of East Chicago with proven strong and dedicated leadership… and continue his vision for a City of Hope and Progress!