Meet Scott Pelath! Indiana House Minority Leader Scott Pelath, first elected to represent Indiana House District 9 in 1998, was born and raised in Michigan City.
Pelath received a Bachelor of Science degree in public affairs from Indiana University in 1992 and served as an aide to U.S. Rep. Tim Roemer from 1992 to 1997. He served as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserve, is a graduate of the Indiana University ROTC program and the Armor Officer Basic Course at Fort Knox, Ky. On Nov. 8, 2012, Representative Pelath was elected Indiana House Democratic Leader by his colleagues. Scott also works as a human resources director at the Swanson Center in Michigan City.
What brought you to the dunes? My family! My paternal grandfather, Bernard Pelath, was a Lake Michigan commercial fisherman. As a young man, he fished his way around the Great Lakes, and ended his journey in beautiful Michigan City in 1930. He decided to stay.
How long have you lived here? I was born in Michigan City in 1970, and my parents moved to the Shoreland Hills neighborhood near the beach when I was only a few months old. Except for a brief stint in our nation’s capital, I have lived here virtually my entire life. I now reside in Long Beach, only a few hundred yards from my childhood home.
What is your favorite thing to do in the area? I find peace walking on Lakeshore Drive through Long Beach, Duneland Beach, and Michiana Shores. Frequently, I take photos of our ever-changing lake and enjoy sharing them with others, especially those who have never experienced our natural wonder. (Scott has been known to #digthedunes on instagram sometimes, you should too!)
Tell us a secret about the dunes. I was four years-old, and my favorite toy was a purple toy Volkswagen Bug. While walking with my parents along the beach, I buried it in the sand, and no one could relocate it after a frantic search. Naturally, I was anguished at the loss of my prized possession.
For many years, my parents would walk the same beach and wistfully say, “Maybe we’ll find the purple VW…”
It is still there, waiting for another little boy to find it.
Give us your top three “hidden treasures” (restaurant, shop, trail, beach, event…really anything!)
a) The Cowles Bog Trail at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore
b) The platform atop the stairs to the beach at Stop 34 in Duneland Beach
c) Little Giant Pizza in Long Beach — carry out and delivery only
What would you like to teach people about the dunes? Each day is a painting that fades away at sunset and is never seen again. The dunes reshape. The clouds morph. The water changes hue. The wildlife evolves. And then the sun rises once again, shedding light on yet another fleeting masterpiece.
Anything else? Visit us! Seeing the reaction of those who have never seen Lake Michigan is a joy of which I never tire. The more who see our dunes, the more who want to preserve them.
The greatest gift is watching my own children enjoy Lake Michigan and the fragile habitat of its shores. The gift was passed to me for them to pass on to future generations.