Candidates for contested races in Tuesday’s Burns Harbor Town Council
election agree on one thing: the town’s 2009 comprehensive plan needs to be
implemented, and soon.
Most candidates say a wider diversity of businesses need to locate there,
and the Town Council should do more to help that come about.
There’s also a race for Clerk-treasurer this year. Jane Jordan, the
eight-year Democratic incumbent, is opposed by Republican Beverly Sutton,
Long-time Town council incumbents Republican Mike Perrine, Ward 1, and
Democrat James McGee, Ward 2, both are unopposed on the ballot.
In Ward 3, Democrat Cliff Fleming opted not to seek a second term. Hoping to
replace him are Republican Jeff Freeze and Democrat Eric Hull. Hull did not
respond to a Chesterton Tribune questionnaire.
Freeze said he’s been involved with or has been a member of government
boards for 15 years. He also cites his business experience in organizational
and financial matters, says that he will represent town residents honestly
and ethically, and that meeting attendance should be a priority for all
Additional priorities would be to implement the comprehensive plan, the
companion downtown district and foster enhanced relationships with
businesses, both existing and future. He supports tax abatement in general
but pledges to act in the town’s best interest, both short- and long-term.
Burns Harbor has two At-Large council seats and neither incumbent, Democrat
Louis Bain or Republican Toni Biancardi, is seeking re-election.
That opens the door for either Republicans Jack Given and Rick Hummel, or
Democrats Gregory Miller and Gene Weibl, to claim an At-Large win. Weibl did
not respond by the deadline to a Chesterton Tribune questionnaire.
Given, who said he’s trained in conflict resolution and bringing about
solutions, feels the town needs a new image and the environmentally friendly
Art of Green Living slogan chosen for the community’s branding efforts will
lend itself to marketing tie-ins. He also wants the master plan implemented
and believes the town needs more openness, honesty, transparency and
With three of the Town Council seats guaranteed to be new members, Given
said that will help improve town government and its business efficiency. He
plans to foster integrity and pride in the work of government and service to
Hummel would use his educational background in business administration and
project management to serve the town. He, too, wants to implement the
comprehensive plan, move forward with capital improvements, and cooperate
with other agencies on the Marquette Pathway project that envisions a Burns
Harbor hike/bike trail.
Hummel believes moving forward with development of the downtown district, as
well as using tax abatement and other tools as needed, will bring economic
growth to benefit town residents, from whom he would seek their views and
Miller said he’d use his experience as an electrician/process technician and
as a board member for three Northwest Indiana non-profits to implement his
clear vision for the town; that includes development of the downtown
district with retail options, job opportunities and services the residents
Streamlining bureaucratic hurdles and creating incentives will lure new
businesses here, he added. The town tax base needs to be diversified, and
the people’s business needs to be conducted efficiently, transparently, and
in a way that promotes the good of all residents, not just a few, said
Jordan, who holds advanced certifications as a municipal clerk, said her
priorities will be to reduce operating costs, pay down debt to save money,
and develop new revenue to supplement property taxes. She hopes in another
term to add to the over 23,000 pages of town documents and records she’s
scanned electronically to preserve them so they can be re-created if lost.
Sutton, semi-retired with a background in accounting and responsibility for
budgeted money and payroll for 50 to 175 employees, said she would look for
available grants for the town to stretch its dollars, help foster an
atmosphere conducive to attracting new business, and listen to citizens’
concerns and direct residents how and where to get them resolved.
All candidates responding to the more-detailed Chesterton Tribune
questionnaire addressed specific campaign issues. Their answers in the
Freeze/Hull race and in the Sutton/Jordan race were published Oct. 31.
Answers in the At-Large race between Given, Hummel, Miller and Weibl were
published Nov. 2. All can be found at