Chesterton Tribune

Walding Mulholland candidates in Town of Chesterton's only contested Council race

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Nick Walding

By KEVIN NEVERS

Candidate: Incumbent Nick Walding.

Party: Republican.

Office sought: 3rd District seat, Chesterton Town Council.

Salary: $4,835.

Term: Four years.

Age: 31.

Family: Married.

Occupation: Lakeside Wealth Management Group.

In April 2010, a Republican caucus elected Nick Walding to the 3rd District seat on the Chesterton Town Council resigned by Dave Cincoski on his appointment to position of Police Chief.

Now Walding is running for his first full term. “I think we’ve accomplished a lot of things with this council,” he says. “We’ve made some good progress. I feel like I’ve had an opportunity to be part of that progress. And I don’t think we’re done yet. We’ve got more things that we can accomplish. I really feel I’m a part of that and I’d like to continue on for four more years in that effort.”

“I started office-serving as a Westchester 12 precinct committeeman and I served as a precinct committeeman for several years,” Walding says. “I’ve lived in my house for about eight years. I first moved to Chesterton back in 1987. For years I delivered newspapers in the area where I live now, so I know that area.”

Walding also believes his degree from Valparaiso University in business administration and finance to be an asset for the job. “Honestly a lot of this is finances, being able to negotiate and work with people.”

‘Why are You a

Better Candidate?’

When asked why he thinks he’s a better candidate than his opponent, Democrat challenger Brian Mulholland, Walding declines to say that he is a better one.

“I’m not going to come out and say I’m a better candidate,” Walding replies. “But I just feel that I have worked with the council for the last year and a half, I think we’ve worked together really well, I think we’ve accomplished some good things. I’ve got a better, deeper understanding of how the town functions and works. I think the team we have in place now is working together well, and I think we could do even more in the next four years.”

When asked whether he wishes to comment on Mulholland’s stated misgivings about his affiliation with Fairhaven Baptist Church, Walding says no.

But he does say this: “I think it’s just great that we see young people here that are willing to get involved, that care about their community, and want to make a difference.”

Achievements

Although Walding himself notes that he joined the current Town Council “mid-stream,” he says that he’s been integrally involved in a number of major projects:

•The financing and construction of the new 15th Street municipal facility. “That building centralizing the services was a great opportunity and I think it’s going to be a great benefit to the town.”

•The creation of a new tax increment financing district south of the Toll Road. “That’s going to help with our development on (Ind.) 49, with the 49 utility corridor bringing more businesses and more economic opportunities to Chesterton.”

•And the completion of the South Calumet sanitary sewer project. “We faced some obstacles and challenges but in the end we got the job done.”

Walding has also served as the Town Council’s liaison to the Street Department, working closely with Street Commissioner John Schnadenberg. During this last season’s major snow events, Walding says that he kept in close touch with Schnadenberg. “John kept me abreast of what was going on. I’d call him, ‘Is everything going okay? Can I help out any?’ He just kept me in the loop. I think they did a great job tackling the storms.”

Development

At the top of the next Town Council’s agenda, Walding says, would be a continued program of economic development. “Especially the 49 utility corridor, we’re just beginning to get up to speed with that. . . . Putting those utilities down 49, developing that area, I think, is one of the things that will be important for the new council to work on.”

What kind of development specifically does Walding hope the utility corridor will attract?

More health services, Walding responds, to complement Porter hospital’s new facility at Ind. 49 and U.S. Highway 6, Franciscan Alliance’s 24-hour ER department on Indian Boundary Road, Long Term Care Investments’ 100-bed nursing home on Dickinson Road, and the healthcare campus in Coffee Creek Center anchored by the Lakeshore Bone & Joint Institute.

“I rather see that than big-box stores,” Walding says. “Big-box stores I’m not entirely opposed to, if they did everything by the book. . . . But I’d rather see better, more higher paying jobs come in with these health opportunities.”

Walding’s Goals

Walding’s goals, should he be re-elected, are threefold: frugality, opportunity, and preparedness.

First, Walding wants “to ensure the town government runs efficiently, that it’s effective, and that it meets the needs of our growing community. This involves cutting waste, moving toward the use of more innovative and efficient means of providing town services.”

Second, Walding would “try to encourage smart and well-planned economic development. I think it’s very important that we try to do whatever we can to create jobs and build long-term economic opportunities.”

Third, Walding would “try to ensure that our town is ready and prepared to deal with emergencies and disasters. We have these things come along every so often. . . . And we need to be prepared and ready.”

Final Statement

“It’s been a great opportunity and it’s been my pleasure to work with this council this past year and a half,” Walding says. “I’ve been pleasantly surprised how well the department heads and the council work together. The biggest thing I see in Chesterton that’s different from some of the other communities is that we cooperate, we work together.”

 

Brian Mulholland

By KEVIN NEVERS

Candidate: Brian Mulholland.

Party: Democrat.

Office sought: 3rd District seat, Chesterton Town Council.

Salary: $4,835.

Term: Four years.

Age: 27.

Family: Father of an infant.

Occupation: Firefighter, AlliedBarton; volunteer firefighter, Porter Fire Department.

Brian Mulholland’s reason for seeking a seat on the Chesterton Town Council is a simple one. “I want to make a difference,” he says.

“Chesterton’s been my home for 15 years now,” Mulholland says. “I always wanted to get into politics. And I want to make a difference and do what I can to make this place better. I’m raising a daughter now. She’s 9 months and I want to make sure it’s a nice place for her to grow up in.”

Mulholland readily concedes that his political experience thus far is limited to service as precinct committeeman in Westchester 12. But he believes he has the character for the job. “I feel like I’m a pretty good guy,” Mulholland says. “I make good decisions and people have counted on me in the past. I’ve been moving up the ranks, more or less, in the fire service, so I’m doing something right there. More guys are relying on me to get stuff done. So I feel I’ve been taking on the next level of the leadership role, specifically in the fire department.”

‘Why are You a

Better Candidate?’

When asked why he thinks he’s a better candidate than his opponent, incumbent Republican Nick Walding, Mulholland cites the CNN report, aired last month, on allegations of child abuse by staff at Fairhaven Baptist Academy. Walding is affiliated with Fairhaven.

“You’ve seen the recent reports about Fairhaven Church,” Mulholland says. “I never was a huge fan of the church and this is kind of bringing stuff to light. I know (Walding) is a member of the church or at least affiliated with them. I don’t know how that affects him. I don’t know how dedicated he is to them, if he’s supporting what they would believe and what they do. I’m not a huge fan of that. It’s all about character. But without knowing him personally, I can’t say 100 percent what his values are.”

Development

What kind of difference does Mulholland specifically want to make in Chesterton?

“I would say development,” he responds. “It’s a prime time to jump on development. I want to see Chesterton grow. We’re a little bit land-locked to the north and the east and the west. But to the south we’ve got some room to move, before somebody else, like Portage, moves in, kind of grabs that area.”

What kind of development?

“Commercial would absolutely have to come in,” Mulholland says. “But residential would be my prime goal.”

What kind of commercial development?

“I’m a fan of mom-and-pop stores,” Mulholland says. “Not a huge fan of the big businesses. But any self-respecting business. I wouldn’t bring in any adult stores. We’ve got a great Downtown, a little bit of everything, scooter stores, flower shops. It’s got a small-town vibe but we’re still prospering.”

What about big-box development?

“As a personal rule I’ve been against it,” Mulholland says. “I don’t obviously have all the details. I know it would bring jobs, revenues to the city, but it would be something I have to look into more. I’m not opposed to it but I’d like to see more details.”

What exactly is the Town Council’s role in encouraging business, say, in the Downtown?

“Well, for the empty stores I can’t say,” Mulholland says. “Obviously they’re going to have the For Rents or the For Sales up. It would be our goal to make sure (1) we attract new businesses and (2) make sure to keep the owners here that we do have happy.”

To accomplish that goal, Mulholland suggests a close relationship between the Town Council and the Chesterton/Duneland Chamber of Commerce as well as the use of incentives. “I know the economy’s not the greatest,” he says. “But maybe offer some sort of breaks for a few years to get them to come in and keep them here.”

Ind. 49 Utility Corridor

Mulholland is fully in support of the current Town Council’s implementation of the Ind. 49 utility corridor: the extension of sanitary sewer, stormwater, and other utility infrastructure south of the Indiana Toll Road, with the idea of opening development of the area.

“Obviously moving south on 49, I think it’s a fantastic idea,” Mulholland says. “Obviously I’m down for any kind of development. I’m pro-development. I think that’s a good idea.”

Fire Territory

But Mulholland has mixed feelings about a fire territory: the combination of two or more of Duneland’s fire department’s into a single taxing unit.

“I’m against it but that’s coming from the smaller Porter Fire side of it,” Mulholland says. Chesterton Fire Chief Mike Orlich “brought up some excellent points. It could improve response times. Overall I would say it’s a good idea. It would be a better idea for the Town of Chesterton.”

“I’m biased,” Mulholland adds, “because I’m from Porter Fire. It would be relatively negative for us. We would basically all be wrapped up in the fire territory and it sounds like we would have to pick one chief and being (it’s) Orlich in charge and his idea for the fire territory, more than likely it would be him. I wouldn’t want to see what Porter’s done for the last 100 years disappear.”

Final Statement

“I’m running off my character more than my experience because my experience has just been precinct committeeman and running a few poll locations,” Mulholland says. “But I’m interested, I work hard, I’d do what’s best for the town. I live in the town, I plan on being in the town for a very long time, so the town’s goals are also my own. People that know me think I’m a pretty good guy. I’m running off my character and my merits.”

 

 

Posted 10/11/2011