Joe Kernan's impact in politics

NOW: Joe Kernan’s impact in politics

SOUTH BEND, Ind.-- Determined, courageous, focused, icon and friend, are words that political leaders describe Joe Kernan.

The impacts that he left on the community, leaders said are endless.

“Joe Kernan who really shaped South Bend during his time as mayor and affected so many dimensions of how our city unfolded and developed,” former Mayor Pete Buttigieg said. “He just lives and breathes the life of this community."

Former Mayor Pete Buttigieg described Kernan as the backbone to South Bend and said that he’s someone who never gave up on the city.

“Somebody who saw a future for our city when it was in some of its toughest days, fighting its way back from the economic slump that defined the 70’s and 80’s. Somebody who just never gave up, never gave up on this country, never gave up on this city, never gave up on this state,” Buttigieg said. “It took heroic efforts to keep the city intact and to make it possible for the future of growth to happen.”

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb said that what inspired him the most throughout Kernan's career, was his distinguished persona.

"His example and how he lived his life. His fearless attitude to be a positive force for good. His genuine acceptance of people of all walks," Holcomb said. 

Leaders hope that others will remember Kernan as not just a mayor or governor, but as a remarkable confidant.

“I just hope that he is remembered for not just the impact that he’s had as mayor and as governor but for the kind of person that he was, because he represents a certain kind of person that south Bend is so proud to produce, but in a unique way in this case,” Buttigieg said. “His belief in this city is something that will live on forever.”

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