A number of candidates running for office in the Nov. 8 general municipal
election spoke at a luncheon on Wednesday organized by the Chesterton/Duneland
Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by LaPorte Savings Bank.
Each candidate was given two minutes to speak and—when both candidates for
the same seat were in attendance—the challenger spoke first.
Contested races in the Town of Porter:
•1st District seat on the Town Council: William Cantrell (D) versus Kenneth
E. Timm (R).
•4th District seat on the Town Council: Elka Nelson (D) versus incumbent
Trevin C. Fowler (R).
•5th District seat on the Town Council: Greg Stinson (D) versus incumbent
Michele Bollinger (R).
Cantrell: Cantrell is a retired steelworker, sits on the Stormwater
Management Board, has served on the Westchester Township Board, and is past
president of the Porter County Triad. “I have publicly voiced my concerns
about the present council, which has created lines of division in the
community and on the council itself,” he said. Cantrell’s opponent was not
Fowler: Fowler said that 3 million people every year visit the Dunes and
the current council has championed the Gateway project for the development
of acreage currently yielding $5,400 in property taxes but on completion
will yield $1.9 million. “I want to make sure toilets flush, the roads are
paved, that things work in Porter,” he said. “But at the same time I’m a
champion of planned development.” Fowler’s opponent was not in attendance.
Bollinger: Bollinger said that the current council has spent the last
four years focusing on economic development, among other things, “to lower
taxes and create jobs. We’ve laid the foundation for this in the Gateway.”
She also said that the current council has captured $20 million in grants,
has a “healthy” Rainy Day Fund, and spent $5.1 million on utility projects,
the cost for which was not passed on to ratepayers but absorbed through tax
increment financing moneys and other sources of revenue. “We’ve cleaned up
the Little Calumet River,” she added. “And the Porter Brickyard Trail should
be completed in the spring.” Bollinger’s opponent was not in attendance.
Contested races in the Town of Burns Harbor:
•Clerk-Treasurer: incumbent Jane M. Jordan (D) versus Beverly Sutton (R).
•At-large seat on the Town Council (vote for two): Jack Given (R), Rick
Hummel (R), Gregory Miller (D), and Gene Weibl (D).
•3rd District seat on the Town Council: Eric Hull (D) versus Jeffrey Freeze
Sutton: Sutton said that she has many years of experience—international
experience as well—in payroll and accounting, is a 13-year resident of Burns
Harbor, and owns five properties in town. “I would like to see it continue
as it is and still grow,” she said. “I want the opportunity to be part of
the change that is coming.”
Jordan: Jordan—who is running for her third term as Clerk-Treasurer—said
that she has taught accounting, business, and computing, has a Master’s
degree in information systems supervision, and is one of only 26
clerk-treasurers in the State of Indiana to be certified a Master Municipal
Clerk by the International Institute of Municipal Clerks and Treasurers. “I
will continue to pay down debt and find new revenue to supplement property
taxes,” she said. She also said that she saved the town $648,000 by
refinancing a bond issue and was the one who discovered an error in the
county’s assessed valuation of ArcelorMittal.
Given: Given said that he’s a builder of green modular homes and wants
to create a partnership of businesses, residents, and industries to make
Burns Harbor a “green community.” He also praised ArcelorMittal’s efforts,
in a traditionally “dirty industry,” to be green.
Weibl: Weibl—who over the years has served as the town’s Building
Commissioner three times—said that he has “always liked working with the
people and coming together to look for solutions.” He added, “I want to
develop Burns Harbor and make it into a town, where you can bring your
business, expand your business, bring goods and services that residents so
desperately need and can’t get without driving a long way.”
Note: The other two at-large candidates were not in attendance.
Freeze: Freeze said that he’s lived in town for six years and has
operated a consulting practice for 16 years, served on the Advisory Plan
Commission when it was updating the Burns Harbor Comprehensive Plan, and has
served on the 2020 Group working on economic development and branding. “I
want to increase town contact with business and be more business friendly,”
he said. “I want to serve in an honest and ethical manner and make decisions
in the best interests of residents.” Freeze’s opponent was not in
There is one contested race in the Town of Chesterton, for the 3rd District
seat on the Town Council: Brian Mulholland (D) versus incumbent Nick Walding
Walding: Walding—who works for Lakeside Wealth and Management
Group—noted that he’s served on the present council since April 2010, when
he was elected by a Republican caucus to succeed Dave Cincoski, who vacated
the seat to become Chief of Police. Walding said that he had three goals:
“to make town government efficient, effective, and timely; to promote smart
economic development, especially along the Ind. 49 corridor, and to be ready
and prepared to meet disasters and emergencies.” Walding’s opponent was not
Note: Incumbent Jim Ton (R), who is running unopposed for his 1st
District seat, also spoke at the luncheon.
There is one contested election in the Town of Beverly Shores, for
Clerk-Treasurer: Laura Sullivan (D) versus Gail Sum (I).
Sullivan: Sullivan said that Beverly Shores “is small, isolated, and
doesn’t have much business,” and that she wants to “change that. She added
that “Beverly Shores is ready to move ahead” and to avail itself of
electronic and on-line technology. “We need to open the office to folks and
serve their needs,” she said.
Saum: “I have no grandiose plans for the town or promises,” Saum said.
Note: Incumbents Richard “Rick” Rikoski (R) and Geof Benson (D), who are
running unopposed for their at-large seats on the Town Council, also spoke
at the luncheon.