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PORTAGE — John Gregg joked there were three times as many people in the audience Wednesday night than there is in his hometown of Sandborn.

Gregg, Democrat candidate for governor and his running mate Christina Hale, a Michigan City native, topped a lineup of some of the area’s and state’s top Democrats during a rally/fundraiser at the Duneland Falls Banquet Center. The event was sponsored by Porter County Sheriff Dave Reynolds, Lake County Sheriff John Buncich and St. Joseph County Sheriff Michael Grezgorek.

In addition to Gregg and Hale, the audience of steelworkers and teachers, firefighters and police officers, heard from Attorney General candidate and former Lake County judge Lorenzo Arrendondo, former Indiana First Lady Susan Bayh and U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-1st.

“The day we get elected is the day the war on organized labor, the war on the middle class ends,” Gregg told the group of several hundred people.

Gregg said his team would focus on education and “not teaching to the test,” on bringing high paying jobs to Indiana, fixing infrastructure and quality of life issues.

Hale called Gregg the “most prepared, most hard working, smartest candidate I’ve ever met in my life.”

Both said they were ready to hit the ground running right after election day.

“We have real plans, real vision. We will be ready to govern from day one,” said Gregg, adding the four northern most counties of Indiana are import in winning the race for governor over Republic Eric Holcomb.

He also said he enjoys visiting Northwest Indiana “because you have the best food in the state.” He also said Region residents leave him enthusiastic and ready to go after a visit.

For Hale, it was like returning home. Her elementary art teacher was sitting in the audience.

“We love events were we get to meet with people. We want to be in a conversation with the people we will represent,” she said. “John and I continue to work as hard as we can to get the word out and to meet as many Hoosiers as we can.”

“We’re hungry in Indiana,” said Bayh, who was stumping for her husband Evan Bayh and his run for U.S. Senate. “We’re hungry for progress. We’re hungry for John Gregg, hungry for Christina Hale, hungry for Lorenzo Arrendondo.”

Bayh and the others encouraged everyone to vote and to talk to others about voting.

“Elections do matter,” said Visclosky, adding people can’t assume their candidate will win, that they must work hard and get the vote out.


Porter County reporter

Joyce has been a reporter for more than 38 years, including 23 years with The Times. She covers municipal and school government in Valparaiso and Portage.