Chesterton Tribune



Commissioner John Evans not seeking reelection

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After more than 40 continuous years in government service, Porter County Commissioner John Evans, R-North, is stepping down.

Evans announced today that he will not seek re-election to a fifth term on the Board of Commissioners and will retire from government service at the end of the year.

“I’ve worked two jobs for over 40 years, and it is time to cut back a little,” Evans said in a statement released this morning. “I will be forever grateful to the citizens of Porter County for allowing me to serve.”

Evans first became a public servant as a deputy coroner under Porter County Coroner Carl Edmonds, then succeeded Edmonds in the elected office. For the next 25 years, Evans served either as the elected coroner or the elected coroner’s deputy. “That was 9,125 days of being on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Evans said.

Then, in 2000, Evans was elected a Porter County Commissioner, an office to which he was subsequently re-elected three times. In 2001 his fellow Commissioners elected him president of the Board of Commissioners, a position he currently holds.

Evans said he believes that Porter County has “worked through” recent budget challenges--posed by the Great Recession and property-tax caps--and that “the groundwork has been laid for a great future.” In particular, Evans pointed to plans “to build a new animal shelter, implement the over $20 million in drainage projects, manage the prudent investment of $157 million in hospital [sale] proceeds so it works for our citizens, complete the Raise the Barn project at Sunset Hill, and advance economic development around the hospital and Porter County Airport.” He also pointed to “studies already completed on improvements at the Porter County Expo Center and the potential of sports--oriented tourism projects.”

“I am confident that we will see great things over the next few years and it is a good time to hand over the reins,” Evans said.

“John Evans is an exceptional leader and an exceptional person who has devoted most of his adult life to public service,” Porter County Republican Chair Mike Simpson said. “His dedication to service and to the local Republican Party will be sorely missed.”

“John will leave a legacy of commonsense government and has played a major role in making Porter County a stronger and more livable community,” Valparaiso Mayor Jon Costas said. “He will be missed.”

Evans will continue his ownership and management of Edmonds & Evans Funeral Homes, in Chesterton and Portage, and spend more time with his wife, Laurie Wehner-Evans. “I have been incredibly fortunate to have had Laurie’s patience and support over the decades,” he said. “Without her, my public service career would not have been possible. We both look forward to traveling and spending much more time together.”

John Cannon of Portage and Jim Biggs and Jeff Trout of Chesterton are running for the Republican nomination to succeed Evans. Biggs currently represents Duneland on the Porter County Council and is a former County Commissioner. Trout is a former member of the Chesterton Town Council.

The winner of that three-way primary race will face Democrat Jeffrey L. Chidester in November


Posted 2/5/2016




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