In the primary election on Tuesday, May 4, Republican candidates Jim Biggs
and Kevin Tracy will vie for the nomination for the 1st District seat on the
Porter County Council, currently held by Democrat Bob Poparad. The
Chesterton Tribune invited them to respond to candidate questionnaires.
The Tribune set word limits for each question and reserved the right
to edit for length.
(1) Age, place of residence, and occupation.
Biggs: 52, Chesterton, national accounts manager for SEB Security.
Tracy: 26, Chesterton, consultant and writer
(2) What are your qualifications for the first district seat on the Porter
County Council and why should the voters unseat an incumbent for you?
Biggs: I was the Porter County Board of Commissioners 1st District
representative from 1993-2000. I also served on numerous public boards, as
well as regional public agencies which managed planning and public
transportation issues throughout Northwest Indiana. I also hold a Master of
Science degree in public safety administration.
The incumbent’s convenient pledge of “no new taxes” was not honored. After
opposing a tax that would provide money for services to county residents he
voted “yes” for the income tax to fund the Regional Development Authority.
Tracy: I was raised here in Chesterton and grew up learning the values
of our community: respect, honesty, family, courage, and service. That's why
I enlisted in the Air Force as an Operations Intelligence Analyst after
September 11th. After my enlistment, I continued serving when I was hired as
a terrorism consultant to the federal government. In my extensive travels
across this country, I've seen first hand the benefits of good government
and the damage caused by bad government. Porter County deserves good
government, and Democrats have failed to provide that here just as they've
failed to provide that in Washington.
(3) What do you see as the issues in this race or what goals do you have?
Biggs: A. Addressing major issues facing of our county without
additional law suits, unsolicited state legislation, and constant internal
B. Deciding the best future use of the monies derived from the sale of our
county hospital and the major moves program.
C. Appropriate funding of the Porter County Jail in order to utilize the
entire facility, which we currently are not able to do.
Tracy: County government needs to be responsible as it plans for the
future while preserving our values. That's going to be difficult, but I
believe we can accomplish that with strong, accountable leadership. If
elected, I will fight tirelessly for the people of Porter County; but I
promise that I will never throw a temper-tantrum or resort to lies and
slander to make that fight easier.
The first “core value” in the Air Force is “Integrity First” and you should
expect that of the person you vote for. I'll work with our law enforcement
community to ensure our neighborhoods are safe and drug-free, and I promise
to never vote for anything that supports abortion or uses eminent domain to
force families from their homes.
(4) Do you agree with the council’s recent decision to the leave the
Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority? If not, how should the
council promote economic growth in the county? (75 words)
Biggs: I find it difficult to support, especially in our current economy
that investing tens of millions of tax dollars in public recreational areas
along the lake front will create any real measurable amount of regional job
growth and economic opportunity which is how these tax dollars are supposed
to be used.
Great schools, taxes that are resourcefully managed, safe streets, and well
maintained infrastructure is a proven stimulant for local economic growth.
Tracy: The courts have ultimately said we can't leave because it was
state law that placed us in the RDA rather than the county government.
Although we could appeal the decision, I doubt an appellate court would
allow us to overturn and opt out of a state mandate, either. So, since we're
already paying into the RDA, we might as well be represented and make sure
Porter County tax dollars are not wasted in other counties.
(5) The county council has generally frozen funding in 2010 at previous year
levels. What areas of county government are in most in need of additional
funding when it becomes available? (50 words)
Biggs: County jail, county roads and right-of-ways, and the county drug
Tracy: That depends on how much money and whether it's a single boost or
a long-term stream of revenue. Our public safety officers deserve every tool
that helps them do their job effectively and safely. We should also consider
putting the money into a rainy day fund or providing tax breaks.