A Republican caucus elected a political newcomer on Wednesday to fill the
3rd District seat on the Chesterton Town Council vacated earlier this month
when Member Dave Cincoski was appointed Police Chief.
Elected unanimously was Nick Walding, 30. Walding was the only candidate.
Walding told precinct committeemen prior to the vote that his family moved
to Chesterton in 1987 and that he loves the town and “wants to give back to
the community.” After working for Federal Express—he drove a delivery route
here—and then for Ferrell Gas, Walding said, he did some “soul searching”
and decided to return to college.
Walding now expects to graduate from Valparaiso University in December with
a degree in business administration and finance. “I’m learning tools and
training hopefully I can use on the job,” he said. “I’d like to work
somewhere in the realm of business finance.”
Liberty 5 precinct committeeman Tim Cole did give Walding a bit of grilling.
Are you familiar with the conditions of the job? he asked Walding.
Walding said in response that he’s aware that the Town Council enacts
ordinances, frequently on the recommendation of other boards, and that it’s
responsible for budgeting and funding. Walding also said that he’s talked to
Member Jeff Trout, R-2nd—“not about specific issues, I’ll get a little more
into the details later on”—but generally about the Town Council’s governance
“It’s quite a responsibility for a young man with no political experience,”
Walding noted that he’s been active for some time in the Republican
Party—he’s actually the Westchester 12 precinct committeeman—and served as
page for former State. Sen. Bill Alexa, D-Valparaiso. “I do have some
background in politics but I’ve never held an office before,” Walding said.
Westchester 8 precinct committeeman John Evans, for his part, said that he
finds Walding “refreshing.”
A secret paper ballot was then held and all eight precinct committeemen
present—of the 12 eligible to vote in the caucus—cast Yea votes for Walding:
Westchester 1, Jack Brown; Westchester 4, Paul Payton; Westchester 3, Gayle
Polakowski; Westchester 8, Evans; Westchester 9, Walding himself;
Westchester 14, Judith Tyler; Westchester 18, Elizabeth Gonzalez; and
Liberty 5, Cole.
After the Vote
Walding, a graduate of Fairhaven Baptist Academy, told the Chesterton
Tribune after the vote that, in preparation for holding the Town Council
seat, he “had a real good discussion” with Trout, whose business background
appeals to him and who is “someone I’ll look forward to working with.”
Walding did say that he has not yet attended a Town Council meeting but that
he is acquiring a working knowledge of the body. “We have to figure out the
best way to go ahead with the different projects. We need to move in the
right direction for the town and the people of Chesterton.”
On several issues Walding has no opinion at the moment: the Dickinson Road
extension, for example, and the TIF-funded projects under the administration
of the Redevelopment Commission, on which Cincoski formerly had a seat.
When asked, on the other hand, about his view of big-box development in
Chesterton, Walding said that he’s not “closed to it” but that it would be
something “we need to pursue carefully,” adding that “we’d have to set the
bar high and not rush into anything.”