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2nd Time Around, Mark Hall Celebrates Victory

(Photo courtesy of Friends of Mark Hall)
Mark Hall, with his wife, Lisa Hall, pose for a photo during a victory celebration of winning the Hamilton County Council District 3 seat, on Tuesday after the Primary Election, unseating 20-year incumbent Steve Schwartz.

Mark Hall stood outside the Noblesville Elks Lodge on Ninth Street Tuesday night smoking a “victory cigar.”

Wearing yellow and black “Mark Hall” T-shirts, he and his wife Lisa were still pinching themselves in disbelief.

But Hall now knows that “common people can win.”

Giving his victory speech, the Noblesville resident confidently said, “We unseated a five-term incumbent.”

They did what some believed could not be done.

Hall unseated Hamilton County Councilman Steve Schwartz in Tuesday’s Primary Election by 1,296 votes. Hall earned 58.44 percent, or 4,487 votes — while Schwartz earned 41.56 percent, or 3,191 votes — to win the Hamilton County Council District 3 seat, which includes Noblesville, Jackson and White River townships. Schwartz, running for his sixth four-year term on the council, was first elected in 2002.

As Tuesday’s voting results started slowly being released at 6:30 p.m. by the Hamilton County Election Office, the numbers immediately looked good in Hall’s favor.

But it wasn’t until the final results came in, at 8:59 p.m., that the Halls started celebrating.

They poured champagne. They hugged. They cried.

Their celebration took place in the upper level of the Elks Lodge, where the Halls are members.

“The voters of Hamilton County have spoken, and the results of the primary are a clear mandate for change,” Hall said.

“I look forward to the challenges ahead along with completing the domestic violence shelter and working on affordable housing in Hamilton County. I thank Councilman (Steve) Schwartz for his service and running a good campaign and look forward to serving with the Council and Commissioners should I prevail in the fall,” he told me.

At their victory party, the Halls reminisced about their campaign, looking back to when Mark Hall successfully came out of open-heart surgery, 22 weeks ago to the day. “He said, ‘I want to finish strong. I want to beat Schwartz,’” Lisa Hall recalled him telling her at the hospital. “He did. This is a dream come true. We could not have done it without all of you. We love you all, and thank you…” Lisa Hall told supporters.

Mark Hall chimed in, “Glory goes to God, first and foremost.”

In 2018, Hall ran for public office for the first time, against Schwartz, and lost by 940 votes. Schwartz earned 54.95 percent with 5,218 votes, and Hall earned 45.05 percent with 4,278 votes.

But Mark Hall wasn’t ready for a repeat. He was determined, this time around, to win.

His strategy?

Mark and Lisa Hall set out 700 Mark Hall political signs, in various sizes, at select locations throughout the district.

“Our campaign strategy this election focused on direct-voter contact,” Mark Hall said.

“Lisa and I knocked on 2,000 doors, and campaign supporters knocked on hundreds more.”

Mark Hall said he couldn’t have knocked on doors without the support of his wife of nearly 43 years. “We would walk, and she would tell me where to go … and would be patient and kind and loving with me, and help navigate.”

He also attributed his win to his faith-based community, his friends, and “a whole bunch of people.”

In District 3, there are 65,208 registered voters and, of those, 25,481 vote Republican, according to Hamilton County Election Administrator Beth Sheller. In the May Primary, 7,678 voters voted in the District 3 race.

“We took our message of transparency and real fiscal oversight directly to the voters,” Hall said. 

“We incorporated direct mail (this journalist received at least a half-dozen mailers promoting Mark Hall’s political campaign), email, television, digital and print messages directly targeting over 20,000 District 3 voters,” he said. He also had an interview on WIBC radio on the morning of April 27.

The incumbent, Schwartz, first came into office in 2002, when Schwartz received 54 percent or 3,097 votes to unseat Brad Beaver, who came into office in 1994 and who received 46 percent, or 2,587 votes in the Republican Primary. Schwartz was unopposed in the 2006, 2010 and 2014 May Primaries. Beaver returned when he ran for County Council At-Large and earned one of three seats, also won by Jim Belden and Rick McKinney, in 2008 and in 2012; Beaver won along with Belden and Jeff Hern in 2016; and Beaver won along with Hern and Sue Maki, in 2020, and are the current At-Large Council members, along with Ken Alexander, District 4; Amy Massillamany, District 2; and Fred Glynn, District 1 (who unofficially won the Primary Election for State Rep. District 32 by 30 votes, with 44.6 percent, or 1,776 votes but results won’t be final until May 13), to make up the seven Council members. (Tim Griffin was elected to fill Glynn’s open seat in 2023.)

On a more personal level, the Halls have three daughters, Amber, Ashley, and Alyssa, and seven grandkids and three Australian shepherds and two cats. Mark Hall is most proud of his family and those he has “influenced to do good” and “”amazing things.” He said, “We came to Hamilton County because we love the small-town feel, and the people are so warm and genuine.”

What else? Mark Hall sings in his church choir at Harbour Shores Church (where he is a deacon, teaches Sunday school and he and his wife teach a marriage class) and has sung in choirs since age 4. He cut a music CD of his singing several years ago. He played Apostle John for 15 years in the local Easter production of “Behold the Lamb,” as narrator and “had the only speaking role.”

His daytime gig? Mark Hall owns three companies and employs more than 3,000 people annually. “We get a chance to help all of those folks feed their families and with that use company money to build (food) pantries and buy food for people that are hurting.” Hall has appeared in two docufilms about “recruiting” and “ethical behavior in business.”

How does he help the community? The Halls couple created Feeding Families Hamilton County in April 2020 and in summer 2020 rebranded the nonprofit’s name as the Feeding Team or www.Feedingteam.org. The nonprofit provides more than 7,000 perishable meals a month through outdoor, no-questions-asked food pantries. The Halls have placed 33 little yellow outdoor food pantries (built by local students and groups) all over the county since creation, and the pantries use the motto, “Take what you need, give what you can.”

Mark Hall is past CEO of two different nonprofits, one that launched a school in the Dominican Republic and one a national faith-based CEO training and development group called Truth at Work.

He coached college softball, one year at Indiana State University and three years at IUPUI. Before that, he coached young women’s softball (he was the first 18U coach for Indiana Shockwaves) for more than 10 years and helped 30 players get scholarships.

In 2019, he facilitated Activate Indy, teaching local nonprofit leadership and growth techniques.

His passion? “I’m wired to serve, help and organize others in need.”

Still on his bucket list: to write a book. “My view is that the point of life is how many people you can positively impact.”

The stars seemed to be aligned this week for Mark Hall. Not only did he win the Hamilton County Council District 3 seat on Tuesday, he won the Noblesville Elks Lodge’ big draw Jackpot on Wednesday night with a Queen of Hearts. His jackpot take-home winnings of just under $19,000, he said, will go to the Feeding Team to buy food for the pantries.

Mark Hall said, “It’s been a good week.”

– Contact Betsy Reason at betsy@thetimes24-7.com.