Chesterton Tribune

Biggs and Blaney seek Porter County Commissioner nominations; filings continue

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Early election buzz hinted one or more county council members would attempt to make the jump to a county commissioner seat in 2012.

The rumors proved to be true as a number of current councilpersons entered the Porter County voters registration at about 11:30 a.m. this morning.

Council member Jim Biggs, R-1st, held a small press conference to publicly announce his campaign for the North County Commissioner seat currently held by John Evans, who filed for reelection on Wednesday.

The two will face off in the May 8 Republican primary election.

Biggs said the county’s Total Quality Management system led by the county auditor, assessor and treasurer has restored credibility and transparency to county finances, but he believes the board of commissioners has not yet caught the same wind.

“It is with great disappointment that the same success has failed to reach other corners of county government, and this is not without significant consequence. County commissioners have willingly allowed our E-911 operations to grow to a point which has become unsustainable in our ability to properly fund it, county health insurance costs continue to spiral out of control with little or no honest attempt to aggressively try and understand why as well as what can be done to stop it, and they have recklessly managed our animal shelter into a well publicized and acknowledged disgrace,” said Biggs.

Biggs said as commissioner he would be more diligent in opening matters up for discussion which he contends the current and former commissioners have failed to do. The problems with E-911 consolidation and the animal shelter could have been avoided if the commissioners had put the proper funding in place, he said.

Biggs said Evans had spoke on developing a plan for the county in December 2010 addressing building and infrastructure needs and economic development, but has yet to do so.

“Here we are in mid-January of the new year and there still is no plan,” he said.

If elected, Biggs’ would return to the commissioner board from which he stepped down voluntarily in 2000 after serving two terms.

The second council member announcing candidacy for commissioner is Laura Blaney, D-at large, who will be vying for South District seat.

Blaney in an announcement said she feels she would serve the county well as South County Commissioner given her two previous terms on the county council, one as a fourth-district representative and her current at-large seat.

A lifelong resident of Porter County, Blaney said she would take the Commissioner job on as full-time and that “her strength of bringing people together to find compromise and common ground is particularly important right now.”

Blaney will face South County Commissioner candidate Jerry Puckett in the Democrat primary election. On the Republican ticket for the South District is Morgan Twp. resident Mike Heinhold.

Council President Dan Whitten, D-at large, is running to keep his current seat as an at-large member on the council. Whitten filed Friday morning for his third term of office.

That makes three candidates running for council at-large on the Democratic ticket. Fellow Council member Sylvia Graham, D-at large announced her reelection bid on Wednesday, as did former 1st District rep Bob Poparad.

“The horses are ready to run. See you at the racetrack,” Whitten said.

As of deadline today, the following are candidates who have officially filed in the Voter Registration office. An “inc.” after a candidate’s name signifies the incumbent. The Tribune will update the list throughout the filing period.


County Commissioner, South District: Jerry Puckett, Laura Blaney

County Council, at-large (3 members): Sylvia Graham (inc.); Bob Poparad; Dan Whitten (inc.)

County Treasurer: Mike Bucko (inc.); Debby Dean Malik

County Surveyor: Kevin Breitzke (inc.)

Superior Court Judge 2: William Alexa (inc.)


County Commissioner, North District: John Evans (inc.); Jim Biggs

County Commissioner, South District: Mike Heinhold



Posted 1/13/2012