Chesterton Tribune



Vote for three in Pine Township Board race

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Editor's Note: What you see is what we got: In the run-up to the general election on Tuesday, Nov. 6, the Chesterton Tribune has published candidate questionnaires for all 16 contested local races.

In only the race for Pine Township Board did any candidate not respond to a questionnaire or not send a photo.



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.

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

(1) Age, occupation.

Lipinski: 75; retired.

Smith: 56; retired firefighter, Michigan City, with 30 years of service.

Wagner: 53; self-employed, owner of Joe’s Towing Inc. of Chesterton.

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

Lipinski: Watch expenses, cemetery maintenance, fire department funding, poor relief.

Smith: To 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.

Wagner: The 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 Township Board.

(3) For Lipinski: Why are you seeking re-election to this office? (75 words)

Lipinski: Same as above.

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).

Lipinski: 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)

Smith: Specific 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.

(5) Differentiate 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.

Smith: The 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)

Lipinski: Be 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 Pine area).

Smith: I believe the key issues are ensuring that Pine Township continues to have efficient and competent fire protection and assisting the needy in Pine Township.

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.


Posted 10/25/2018





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