In the primary
election on Tuesday, May 8, incumbent Andy Bozak will face a challenge from
Emerson DeLaney for the Republican nomination for the 1st District seat on
the Porter County Council. The Chesterton Tribune invited both to
respond to a candidate questionnaire.
set word limits for each question and reserved the right to edit for length.
(1) Age, place of
Burns Harbor, director of operations.
(2) For Bozak:
Describe your achievements in office (75 words): Increased communication
both internally within departments and externally with citizens by making
sure I am easily available to anyone that wants to contact me. I helped
establish a Rainy Day Fund in the Foundation to protect us when stock
markets are down. While Iíve been on the council, weíve invested in both our
infrastructure and our people.
Describe your qualifications for office (75 words): I have been
appointed by two past Governors to serve on a state board. I have served on
the Chesterton Board of Zoning appeals along with serving on the Plan
Commission. I am currently serving on Chestertonís Redevelopment Commission
and in my third elected term on the Chesterton Town Council. I have served
the public for over 20 years with a proven track record.
(3) For Bozak: Why
are you seeking to retain your seat? (75 words): Iíve been on the County
Council for only two years and thereís a lot more work to do in order to
further secure a better future for our county and making sure everyone gets
a voice. As County Council President, I can ensure the voices of the
Duneland community are both heard and respected on the County Council.
For DeLaney: Why
are you seeking election to this office? (75 words): Porter County
District 1 has over 32,000 registered voters who deserve full-time
representation. Now that my wife and I have raised our family, I now have
the time to dedicate my energy to the needs of District 1.
yourself from your opponent and indicate why you believe yourself to be a
better candidate (100 words).
I have the most current experience and require no learning curve, the most
important difference is that Iím the only candidate with children in grade
school. This is an election where voters need to be looking to the future
and as a 35-year-old parent of three kids in the Duneland Schools and a
fourth who will be in a few years, there is nobody the future of Porter
County is more important to.
County District 1 deserves a candidate that has the experience and is able
to dedicate the time needed for this position. I have been blessed with both
of these opportunities.
(5) What are the
biggest challenges facing Porter County? (125 words)
biggest challenge right now is antiquated thinking about aging and outdated
infrastructure, including buildings and roads. If the County Council invests
in proper maintenance and upgrades now, we will only spend half as much as
rebuilding years down the road. In order to keep taxes low and steady in the
future, I am also pushing to invest in new technology to make government
more time and cost efficient. Jon Miller and his team have done a
particularly remarkable job modernizing the Recorderís Office, and we should
be looking to do that everywhere in county government to lower costs. We
have to plan for tomorrow today if weíre going to continue to be one of the
most successful counties in Indiana.
County Council is tasked with fiscal matters pertaining to budgets, tax
rates and expenditure/appropriations of public funds. One challenge facing
our county is a large percent of public moneys being used for professional
services such as consulting fees. The amounts are rather high and should be
addressed. Another challenge is some of the county roads are beyond their
life span and were never designed for the amount of traffic they are seeing.
There needs to be a plan put in place to address this issue. We are growing
as a county because we offer quality of life along with a low tax rate
compared to neighboring counties and states. We need an updated
comprehensive plan to continue to help direct smart growth.
(6) What are your
priorities for use of the funds in the Porter County Non-Profit Charitable
Foundation? (75 words)
should ensure the Foundation funds are still there for future generations.
We should never spend the principle and invest only the interest in Porter
County, especially in the Duneland community. If the council decides to
establish a charitable arm of this foundation in the future, we must also
ensure that it is properly established with the appropriate checks and
balances to guarantee money allocated from this fund is responsibly invested
in our countyís future.
Currently these moneys are for services provided by entities such as
Opportunity Enterprises, Porter County council on Aging and Family Services
and others. We should continue to expand other county services such as
funding our Animal Control. Currently it is funded by municipalities in the
County. We should also partner with school districts to provide SROs (school
resource officers) in conjunction with our Sheriffís Department. Not all of
our schools have a uniformed officer.
specifically can the County Council do to promote county-wide economic
development and job creation? (75 words)
Businesses want to know they are setting up shop in communities that have
stable, predictable government. Thatís more than just keeping taxes low,
which is extremely important. It also means completing projects, having
responsible infrastructure investment strategies, and doing what we say
weíre going to do. Thatís why itís so important that those elected to county
government understand the jobs they are elected to fill and avoid making
promises beyond the scope of their office.
losses in manufacturing have led to more healthcare and service-oriented
jobs. The county needs to update and follow its comprehensive plan, which
specifically includes an unused area around the airport. Initiatives could
attract high-tech, specialized manufacturing and healthcare related
industries there. The county also needs to appoint an individual whose sole
purpose is to promote the county as well as to seek and write grants for
(8) For Bozak: What
particularly important Duneland-specific experience or insight do you bring
to the County Council (75 words): Iíve lived here over 20 years and
watched the entire Duneland community grow. I served on the Burns Harbor
Town Council, Park Board, and Plan Commission. I volunteered as treasurer
and coach for State Park Little League and am our local Knights of Columbus
Youth Director. Building our communityís future is more than government
work. Itís all of our responsibility, and the best way to do it is to be
present and get active.
For DeLaney: What
particularly important Duneland-specific experience or insight would you
bring to the County Council (75 words): Several Duneland communities
provide ambulance service to residents without spending any taxpayer
dollars. Currently the county contracts with Porter Regional Hospital to
provide this service. Spending over $420,000 of taxpayer dollars to
supplement this is wrong. We could direct this money to other services.
Tourism is well known in the North County. It brings in over $400 million
dollars and supports over 5,000 jobs annually. The county should embrace
this economic engine more.