In the general
election on Tuesday, Nov. 6, voters will be asked to cast ballots for three
of the following in the race for Pine Township Board: Republican incumbents
Tom Lipinski and Margaret (Peggy) Richardson, Republican challenger Tom
Carlson, and Democrat challengers Matthew Smith and Joe Wagner. The
Chesterton Tribune invited all five to respond to candidate
questionnaires. Richardson and Carlson did not return responses by the
deadline set by the Tribune, 9 a.m. today.
set word limits for each question and reserved the right to edit for length.
retired firefighter, Michigan City, with 30 years of service.
self-employed, owner of Joe’s Towing Inc. of Chesterton.
(2) Describe the
responsibilities of the Pine Township Board (75 words).
expenses, cemetery maintenance, fire department funding, poor relief.
approve the budget for Pine Township. To assist the Trustee with poor
relief, cemetery care, and maintenance. Also, to advise the Trustee
regarding fire department equipment purchases and maintenance of such
equipment and station.
Township Board oversees and manages the budget. It ensures the Township
Cemetery is maintained to utmost standards. It will overview and approve
township contracts and its members are to attend all meetings of the
(3) For Lipinski:
Why are you seeking re-election to this office? (75 words)
For Smith and
Wagner: Why are you seeking election to this office? (75 words)
Smith: I am
seeking this position because I was born and raised in Pine Township and
want to give back to the township in any way I can. My 30 years’ experience
on the Michigan City Fire Department would be a useful asset. In 2016 the
Pine Township Volunteer FD disbanded due to lack of personnel to safely run
calls and is now contracted through the Beverly Shores Volunteer FD, which
is currently answering all calls for service. I want to ensure that Pine
Township citizens continue to receive the assistance they deserve when they
place a call for help.
Wagner: I moved
to Pine Township in 2014. I have always been active in the communities I
have resided in, holding the position of Police Commissioner of Chesterton
and later Police Commissioner of Porter. Being out of the loop for some
time, I felt running for this position would be a good step for me by
putting my past experience to work for the community in which I now reside.
(4) For Lipinski:
Describe your achievements in office (100 words).
Researched fire trucks before purchase. Researched proposed fire district
and found no need, saving township over $600,000.
For Smith and
Wagner: What specific skill sets would you bring to the office? (100 words)
skills for this position include: 30 years as a professional firefighter. I
also owned and operated a successful overhead door company for 20 years.
Wagner: Being a
business owner for 35 years, I am a true people person that cares about the
community, its people, and their safety. In my industry I work with many
municipalities under stressful situations involving people and their safety.
I work hard to make certain the job is done right and to the best of my
ability. This skill set is very rare to find and I am anxious to bring my
experience to office.
yourself from your opponents and indicate in particular why you believe
yourself to be a better candidate (100 words).
Lipinski: I am
very careful about spending tax money.
biggest difference between myself and my opponent is that I live in the
unincorporated part of Pine Township and not in the Town of Beverly Shores
or the Town of Pines. My tax dollars go to the township and not towards a
town that has their own government.
Wagner: I was
Police Commissioner for over nine years working with budgets, hiring and
firing candidates, and making recommendations for new police equipment to
the Town Council. I worked closely with the Police Chief and two other
commissioners, making various decisions and recommendations for the good of
the Police Department and the community it protects. I was also President of
the commission for several years. This vast experience is something another
candidate would not bring to the table.
(6) What are the
key issues in this race? (100 words)
watchful of spending and try again to procure tornado siren for south
township (there are three sirens in the north district and none in the south
believe the key issues are ensuring that Pine Township continues to have
efficient and competent fire protection and assisting the needy in Pine
Wagner: In my
opinion one of the main issues is fire protection. I would like to ensure
that the citizens of Pine Township are getting the best protection
available. I would like to also help to see that taxes remain low within our
township, making a vibrant community for others to move here.