Heartland Hub Mayor Spotlight on Mayor John Hamilton of Bloomington, Indiana

May 25, 2022 By Eric Moorer


Mayor John Hamilton has been serving Bloomington, IN residents since January 2016. Now in his second term, Mayor Hamilton continues to build a bright future for the city of Bloomington.

Bloomington was established in 1818 and is distinguished by being the home of Indiana University, which was founded just two years later in 1820. Mayor Hamilton speaks of Bloomington’s uniqueness when he said, “It is rare for a city with under 100,000 people to have a major tier one university, Indiana University. This causes Bloomington to be far more globally connected than the typical smaller city.” Historically, Bloomington was a major manufacturing town and once had the world’s largest furniture factory. It was also the first manufacturer of color televisions in the world.

Mayor Hamilton’s first experience as an elected official was on the Monroe County Community School Corp. board in 2008. He ran for mayor in 2016 because he felt that he could help move his city in a positive direction by addressing challenges Bloomington faced.

One of Mayor Hamilton’s priorities is to make Bloomington a welcoming and diverse community that feels inclusive for anyone who travels to this great city. Bloomington is uniquely positioned to reach this goal: there are thousands of new residents attending Indiana University from around the world each year.

A Bright Future for Bloomington

Along with equity, diversity, and inclusion, Mayor Hamilton’s priority issues include addressing climate change. Mayor Hamilton believes that it is important as a leader in his city to think about the climate, the future, and Bloomington’s role in building a positive, forward-looking community. Although Indiana will not be impacted by sea level rise directly, weather changes affect the state. Mayor Hamilton’s work includes ensuring that the city is ready to convert its economy through a zero-carbon approach. As part of this work, Mayor Hamilton has championed reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to local climate impacts as local and collaborative efforts to combat climate change.

Mayor Hamilton has also been involved in the climate discussion globally. He says, “It’s amazing to see how much communities want to help each other become successful. Leadership from mayors can be an important way to build bridges, establish progress and encourage each other.”

Leading Globally Matters Locally

Mayor Hamilton’s stated goal is to ensure that Bloomington is truly a place where everyone belongs in this new sustainable, global economy. As a result, Mayor Hamilton believes global engagement is essential to cultivating a successful future for his city. He says, “As we learn from COVID and climate change, we are all dependent upon each other. We must lean into this and make sure this grows and continues in years ahead.”

These words are important in a time where global engagement is more important than ever. The U.S. Global Leadership Coalition had the privilege of honoring Mayor Hamilton with our Global Statesman Award at last year’s annual Tribute Celebration. As a member of our Indiana State Advisory Committee, we are grateful for his strong voice on the importance of America’s role in the world. His actions as Mayor have truly exemplified how leading globally matters locally.

Mayor John Hamilton is an Ohio Advisory Committee Member.