Chesterton Tribune



Democrats vie in Indiana House race and Porter Superior Court race

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There are two contested races on the Democrat ballot in Tuesday’s primary election.

The first, to nominate a candidate for the 4th District seat in the Indiana House of Representatives, pits Pamela Mishla Fish against Jessie Harper.

Fish, 44, resides in Union Township and is president of Midwest Environmental Systems Inc. She’s previously served on several public bodies, including the Porter County Election Board, the Porter County Redevelopment Commission, and the U.S. Highway 6 Corridor Development Steering Committee. Harper, 46, resides in Valparaiso, is the owner of JBH Productions Inc., a film and video production company, and has served on the Porter County Convention, Recreation, and Visitor Commission.

Fish says her priorities, if elected, would be “good-paying jobs” and public education and notes that the General Assembly has “shifted the burden of adequately funding public education from the state to local school boards via referendum elections.” Also of concern to Fish: “Our roads and bridges are crumbling and drug abuse is increasing.”

Harper identifies the following, among others, as his priorities: “The nullification of local ordinances and reversal of decisions of legitimate boards by the legislature. Restoring Indiana’s reputation by prohibiting discrimination against LGBT Hoosiers and respecting the rights of women. Rebuilding Indiana’s crumbling infrastructure without increasing taxes.”

Both Fish and Harper oppose Pavilion Partners’ plans to build a banquet center at the beach in Indiana Dunes State Park. Harper, as a member of the PCCRVC, refused to endorse the banquet center and cast the lone “No” vote against it.

The 4th District seat is currently held by Republican Ed Soliday, who is running unopposed for the GOP nomination.

Porter Superior

Court No. 3

The second contested race on the Democrat ballot, to nominate a candidate for the bench of Porter Superior Court No. 3, pits incumbent Judge Julia Jent against challenger Michael Deppe.

Jent, 69, a resident of Portage, has served 19 years on the bench in Porter Superior Court No. 3.

Deppe, 60, is a resident of Union Township and a retired Lake Station police office and has a law practice in Lake County.

In addition to her regular criminal and civil court call, Jent has developed several “special problem-solving courts” targeting specific high-risk/high need offender groups: Adult Drug Court, Veterans Treatment Court, and Re-Entry Court. Of them she says, “These are now model programs combining intense supervision, treatment, counseling, and education to divert offenders from incarceration into productive, crime-free lives.”

For Deppe the key issues in the race are the treatment of people in the courtroom and the avoidance of the appearance of judicial prejudice. “Everyone deserves to be treated with respect and professionalism,” he said. “When victims, defendants, or witnesses feel disrespected, it makes people believe the system is rigged even if the ultimate outcome is just. Respect, fairness, and firmness are not mutually exclusive.”

“I am accessible,” Jent says. “I expedite cases without jeopardizing litigants’ rights, and I believe everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.”

“Due to my broad experience, I have a sense of fairness and how to do the right thing,” Deppe said.


Posted 5/2/2016





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