Chesterton Tribune



Pine Township Trustee race features Himan and Watkins

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In the general election on Tuesday, Nov. 6, Democrat incumbent Pine Township Trustee Andrew P. Himan Jr. will face a challenge from Republican Tammy Marie Watkins. The Chesterton Tribune invited both to respond to candidate questionnaires.

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

(1) Age, occupation.

Himan: 43; career firefighter, City of Portage.

Watkins: 54; wellness and nutrition manager, Duneland School Corporation.

(2) Describe the responsibilities of the Pine Township Trustee (75 words).

Himan: Diligently and ethically manage all aspects of the township income and expenses. Ensure the township has efficient, competent fire protection. Maintain the township cemetery in a dignified and respectful manner. Administration of township assistance. Attend all meetings of Township Board and maintain the written record of these meetings.

Watkins: The Pine Township Trustee is responsible for administering township assistance as well as providing fire protection for the township. In addition, the Trustee is required to maintain township finances and keep accurate and open records. The Trustee is also charged with the duties of Fence Viewer and eradicating any harmful plants and vegetation.

(3) For Himan: Why are you seeking re-election to this office? (75 words) I am very concerned that my opposition will degrade the township’s current fire protection performance. I will continue to ensure that the current high quality of fire protection and EMS support continues during my administration. I thoroughly enjoy working with and serving the public.

For Watkins: Why are you seeking election to this office? (75 words) I am seeking election to improve township assistance response and would like to partner with the Food Bank of Northern Indiana to bring the Mobile Marketplace to our area for residents in need and begin a local food pantry. I would also like to begin utilizing the fire station and fire apparatus that Pine Township already has but is being underutilized. Lastly, I would like to create a more modern and transparent township office.

(4) For Himan: Describe your achievements in office (100 words). When the now defunct Pine Township Fire Department couldn’t respond to nearly two thirds of the township’s fire alarms and calls for help and closed their incorporation I entered into a contract with the Beverly Shores Volunteer Fire Department, which now responds to 99 percent of the fire alarms and calls for help well within the NFPA 1720 recommended 14 minutes for rural volunteer fire department. Mutual aid is requested only 1 percent of the time. Sharing services between Pine Township and the Town of Beverly Shores is an excellent way to manage costs and maintain our low tax rate.

For Watkins: Describe your qualifications for office (100 words). I hold an AAS Degree in Business Administration and have 23 years of experience directing the food service operations in five schools for New Prairie United School Corporation and now in nine schools for the Duneland School Corporation. These positions have allowed me the opportunity to become well versed in state reporting and with State Board of Accounts audits which have always been very favorable during my tenure in business administration. This type of experience will be key to the needed balancing of the finances as well as for providing assistance to those in need.

(5) Differentiate yourself from your opponent and indicate why in particular you believe yourself to be the better candidate (100 words).

Himan: I am a well trained and educated firefighter. I have served 24 years as a volunteer firefighter and 19 years as a career firefighter. I have served the public every day of my adult life. My opponent offers no such credentials.

I know that the safety and well-being of all our citizens is paramount and should not be taken lightly.

My family and I are lifelong residents of the rural section of Pine Township. We know the importance of clean, simple living and are proud to call Pine Township home.

Watkins: My opponent and I differ in our outlook of trustee duties and responsibility to our community. I feel that the Trustee owes it to the residents to be accessible for those in need and to provide transparent, balanced finances. I also feel that it is in the best interest of Pine Township taxpayers to keep the current fire station and fire equipment in use and not let them sit and become unusable.

(6) What are the key issues in this race? (100 words)

Himan: Continued excellent emergency services. Shared services. Low taxes.

Watkins: Key issues in the race for Pine Township Trustee would be better communication and service for those in need and providing that service in a timelier fashion. The next key issue and goal of mine would be bringing the books back into balance and providing a modernized and transparent Trustee’s Office. In addition, another key issue for me would be bringing the Fire Department back into operation.



Posted 10/23/2018




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