Chesterton Tribune                                                                                   Adv.

Harper seeks reelection as County Commissioner

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Porter County Commissioner Robert Harper announced Thursday that he will seek re-election this year.

In a press release, Harper cited a list of accomplishments made in the past six years since he first became commissioner. His list included helping to start the county’s first redevelopment commission, which he said is now meeting monthly and attempting to secure more federal grants for the county. His list also included his work on solving drainage problems, including passing “one of the most progressive drainage ordinances that exists in the state of Indiana.” The drainage ordinance requires new developments in the unincorporated areas to undergo an independent engineering review.

Other accomplishments cited by Harper include introducing an ethics ordinance; establishing a green space ordinance for future subdivisions; working on the first overhaul of the county’s development ordinance in more than 30 years; starting a countywide drainage study that includes municipalities; passing the county’s first unsafe building ordinance; passing a soil erosion ordinance; and passing an ordinance affecting the commercial corridors of Porter County.

Harper said, however, that he feels the most important role he has played as commissioner has been “speaking out against proposals that continue to be made that involve us partnering with other counties and increasing taxes for regional type projects.”

Harper said the projects have been presented as creating jobs, an argument that he said is “simply nonsense.”

“I do recognize that some of these projects will result in short-term construction jobs, but as far as long-term employment, I just do not believe that anyone has made a good argument that such employment will result from these activities,” he said.

Harper added that most people believe that “we cannot buy ourselves into prosperity.”

“If we are gong to attract businesses to Porter County, I think we must do so by maintaining a quality of life (and) that is done by ensuring that future development is done in an orderly manner,” he said, citing the need to ensure public safety, to provide educational opportunities such as those provided by Valparaiso University and Ivy Tech, and to maintain low taxes.

Harper, a Democrat, is a former Porter County Prosecutor who was appointed commissioner in late 2003 to fill the vacancy created by the death of commissioner Larry Sheets. He was elected to a full term in 2006.

As of Wednesday, no other candidates announced their intention to run for the center district seat, the only commissioner seat on the ballot this year. The commissioner position is elected countywide, though candidates must live in the center district.


Posted 2/19/2010




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