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Republican candidates introduce themselves at forum

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Republican candidates had the chance on Saturday to tout their qualifications and air their views at a forum sponsored by the Duneland Republicans at the Library Service Center in Chesterton.

Candidates for the 1st Congressional District seat, Porter County Recorder, Porter County Assessor, and the 1st District seat on the Porter County Council all appeared.

Each was given three minutes to speak.

1st Congressional District

Four of the eight Republicans vying for the nomination for the seat currently held by U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky appeared on Saturday: Adam Dombkowski, Mark Levy, Peter Lindemulder III, and Robert Pastore. Not appearing: Ric Holtz, Eric Olson, Michael Petyo, and Jayson Reeves.

•Adam Dombkowski: Dombkowski, a Valparaiso resident, began by stating for the record that he’s anti-abortion and believes that life begins at conception. Having gotten through the first “900 pages” of the recently enacted healthcare reform bill, Dumbkowski has concluded that parts of it need to be repealed and parts reformed. He supports “tax cuts, not more taxes, and fiscal responsibility.” And—“whatever you think about going to war in the first place”—in Iraq and Afghanistan “we need to leave behind safe, secure countries.” The Patriot Act also needs to be reviewed, Dumbkowski said, as “our civil liberties and constitutional rights need to be preserved.”

•Mark Leyva: Leyva, who has run against Visclosky in every election since 2002, noted that he was vying for the seat “when it was unfashionable” to do so. “I’m just a regular working cut, a carpenter and former steelworker” with a son in the military. His target: “the kings and queens in Congress who are abusing our Constitution.” His “driving forces”: “limited government, the free market, fiscal responsibility, and protecting our freedoms and liberty.” On the subject of the healthcare bill: “we need to repeal, replace, and stop funding it in the House.”

•Peter Lindemulder III: Lindemulder opened his remarks by saying he lost his father at 50 to cancer and “that we don’t know how long we have in this world to make a difference.” A father himself, Lindemulder said that he wants to make a difference for his own children. He has a business background, his family has operated multiple businesses, he’s done everything from drive a garbage truck to make payroll, Lindemulder said. “They gave me a good background in business and business experience to turn around the country.” His “basic goals”: “sensible healthcare reform, rejuvenating the economy, and creating jobs.” On the specific subject of healthcare, Lindemulder said, “we need to repeal it and replace it and get at the real problem: the costs of healthcare. We’re creating an entitlement monster that will hurt big and small business.”

•Robert Pastore: Pastore is the Hammond Republican party chair. His three main issues: “Obamacare,” Visclosky’s “inability to truly represent us,” and “jobs and the economy.” By 2020, he projected, the federal deficit is going to be running at $20 trillion. “We can’t allow the socialist Democrats to take over,” Pastore said. “We need to completely repeal the healthcare bill. It will bankrupt our nation. And we need to get government spending under control or our businesses will be overtaxed.” Pastore also said that he is anti-abortion.

Porter County Recorder

Both Republican candidates for the nomination for Porter County Recorder were in attendance: William LaFever and Jon Miller.

•William LaFever: LaFever said that his 26 years in the construction business, 13 of them with the Indiana Department of Transportation, has qualified him for the office of Recorder. “It’s paying attention to detail, reading and following government regulations,” LaFever said. “I understand legal descriptions, I’ve done surveying, I understand liens.” LaFever added, “I will fight for what’s right. I don’t take orders from anybody. I will follow the law and do what’s best for the county.”

•Jon Miller: Miller, a Chesterton resident, is a 27-year employee of the Porter County Sheriff’s Police, with 11 years at 911. While working for the PCSP, Miller said, he established a document imaging system for the agency to make documents more easily accessible for residents. He is therefore well qualified for the Record’s “important work” of keeping documents stored, Miller said. “I will serve you with honesty, integrity, and commitment.”

Porter County Assessor

Both Republican candidates for Porter County Assessor were in attendance: Gail Hudson and Jon Snyder.

•Gail Hudson: Hudson said that she previously worked in the Center township Assessor’s Office, since 2001, and is now working in the consolidated Porter County Assessor’s Office. “I understand the current software and have thought of more efficient ways of meeting the appeals challenge,” namely, by meeting with property owners prior to assessment, before it ever gets to the point of an appeal. “I will work with the Auditor and the Treasurer to get bills out in a timely fashion.”

•Jon Snyder: Snyder, a Portage resident, is a Level II certified appraiser and over the years has appraised “millions of dollars in farm, homes, and vacant property,” he said. “I will use my private sector experience to make sure assessments are fair and accurate.” Snyder noted that he wants to streamline the appeals process by allowing property owners to file on line. He also noted that he’s the only candidate for the office of Assessor “not employed by Porter County government.”

Porter County Council,

1st District Seat

Both Republican candidates for the 1st District seat on the Porter County Council were in attendance: Jim Biggs and Kevin Tracy.

•Jim Biggs: Biggs, a Chesterton resident, served two terms as Porter County Commissioner and said that he fulfilled his pledge not to run for re-election after the expiration of his second term. The incumbent, Biggs said—Democrat Bob Poparad—“pledged not to raise taxes and he did. He’s given 100 reasons why he did. But your word as an elected official is everything.” Biggs added, “When I left office 10 years ago, things looked much different in the county than they do now. I will stand up for our county and the people who live here.”

•Kevin Tracy: Tracy emphasized the importance “of serving the community” and said that he enlisted in the United States Air Force after 9/11, where he served as an intelligence analyst. He subsequently took a position in Washington, D.C., as a terrorism consultant, but “learned to hate D.C. and the politicians who are destroying our country.” On the subject of the Regional Development Authority: Tracy is opposed to regional government without a referendum being held on it. On the South Shore extension: “I’m completely opposed to it. It would be bad for the county and terrible for commuters.” Tracy also noted, should it become an issue, that he is anti-abortion.

Porter County Coroner

None of the Republican candidates in the contested race for Porter County Coroner was in attendance.

Democrat Forum Scheduled

The Westchester Township Democrat Club will hold its own candidates forum at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 8, at Hageman Library 100 Francis St. in Porter.



Posted 4/5/2010




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