Chesterton Tribune



Andy Bozak and Emerson DeLaney vie for County Council 1st District Republican nomination

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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.

The Tribune set word limits for each question and reserved the right to edit for length.

(1) Age, place of residence, occupation.

Bozak: 35, Burns Harbor, director of operations.

DeLaney: 63, Chesterton, semi-retired.

(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.

For DeLaney: 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.

(4) Differentiate yourself from your opponent and indicate why you believe yourself to be a better candidate (100 words).

Bozak: Although 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.

DeLaney: Porter 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)

Bozak: The 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.

DeLaney: The 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)

Bozak: We 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.

DeLaney: 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.

(7) What specifically can the County Council do to promote county-wide economic development and job creation? (75 words)

Bozak: 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.

DeLaney: Large 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 that purpose.

(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.



Posted: April 16, 2018




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