NEW ALBANY, Ind. — When New Albany councilman Patrick McLaughlin died in June after battling an illness, his position was left open.
This week his wife Deanna was sworn in as his replacement.
“He had told me a long time ago if anything ever happened to him, he would want me to step up and take his council seat,” Deanna said. “I feel like I need to do that, and I’d like to carry on the McLaughlin name and continue his legacy.”
Patrick served District Four since 2008 and helped transform the community he grew up in.
He played a big part in developing the parks system and bringing businesses downtown.
“He got involved and made a lot of changes to our community,” Deanna said. “There’s a lot of business here now.”
Deanna said she still has a lot to learn, but did learn about the position during Patrick’s time in office. He also shared his experience with newer council members.
“He knew the history of everything that was going on, and really just in a way was a mentor on some of those items about the history and how things got to be where they are now,” Council Vice President Jason Applegate said.
Applegate spent a year and a half serving with Patrick. Applegate says when Patrick died, there was an outpouring of support from the community for the man who made quite an impact - one that will be carried on.
“It’s a tremendous honor that [Deanna] is fulfilling and continuing that legacy,” Applegate said. “I would say Pat would probably be very proud to know that his wife is stepping up but also I think is going to make her own mark.”
Deanna said she is going to do the job to the best of her ability and wants to help people solve problems, or research them to help them find an answer.
“I just want to be as active as I can be,” Deanna said. “If there’s anything I can do, I want to represent the district of New Albany well.”