Candidates in all
four contested countywide races and the single contested legislative race in
Duneland spoke at a forum on Wednesday at Sand Creek Country Club.
The forum was
hosted by the Duneland Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by Lakeside Wealth
Management Group LLC.
Each candidate was
given three minutes to introduce him- or herself and to discuss the key
issues in the respective race. The candidates were given the podium in
Kevin Breitzke appeared. His Republican challenger, Bill Rensberger, did
running for his sixth four-year term, spoke of his professional
expertise--certified as professional land surveyor, septic system inspector,
and stormwater inspector--as well as his professionalization of the office
improving the technology,” Breitzke said. “It’s one of the most productive
and efficient county surveyor offices in the state,” Breitzke said. On top
of that, “I’ve made personal, friendly service the highest priority.”
Breitzke pledged to
“improve drainage and solve drainage problems in the most cost-efficient
ways” and--especially given the volume of roadwork in the county--to
perpetuate survey markers.
incumbent Michelle Clancy and her Republican challenger, Chuck Harris,
Clancy, who was
elected to the office by a Democrat caucus, previously served as Chief
Deputy Treasurer. Among other things, she cited her bachelor’s degree in
accounting and international business and her MBA in finance, and noted that
her first year’s budget she cut by 10 percent.
Clancy also spoke
of her office’s new on-line capabilities, which she introduced in 2015 and
upgraded this year, giving taxpayers access to their tax bills and the
ability to pay them from all computers, devices, and smartphones. “Basically
from your living room,” she said.
Harris, a licensed
funeral director with a degree from Ball State University, is currently in
his second term as Porter County Coroner, and said that he’s chosen to run
for Treasurer because the Coroner’s Office is limited to two consecutive
terms. “Treasurer would be a great fit for me. Like all office holders, I am
a public servant first and foremost.”
As Coroner, Harris
said, “I’ve focused on giving the best service possible to families at the
worst possible moment of their lives” as well as to the professional
first-responders who regularly respond to scenes.
that many folks feel comfortable paying their tax bills on line. But not
everybody. “I want to make it as convenient as possible for that certain
demographic that still wants to pay in person and have a receipt in hand,”
he said. For that reason he plans, if elected, to establish a satellite
office in the North County Complex in Portage, followed by satellites in
Chesterton and Kouts.
Biggs--who currently has the 1st District seat on the Porter County
Council--is facing Democrat Jeff Chidester for the open North District seat
on the County Commissioners. Biggs appeared at the forum. Chidester did not.
Biggs began by
saying that he previously served two four-year terms as Commissioner,
beginning in 1992, then opted not to run again for the seat. It was during
his tenure as Commissioner, Biggs said, that the county pursued the largest
building project since the old courthouse: the new Porter County Jail.
And it’s been
during his tenure on the County Council--Biggs is currently serving his
sixth year on it--that the council succeeded ing opening the jail’s third
pod, thereby “relieving a serious jail overcrowding problem.”
Biggs also spoke of
the establishment of the Porter County Government Non-profit Charitable
Foundation, undertaken jointly by the Council and the Commissioners, which
he said has secured the county’s financial position.