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.”
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
The 4th District
seat is currently held by Republican Ed Soliday, who is running unopposed
for the GOP nomination.
Court No. 3
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