CROWN POINT | Political hopefuls traveled Lake County's snowbound streets early Wednesday to try and bring fire to the first day of filing for 2014's elections.
"It's going to be a great year with a lot of good energy," Lake County Assessor Jolie Covaciu said from her position as first in line to file the necessary paperwork to get on the May 6 ballot. The 45-year-old Cedar Lake woman will run in the Republican spring primary for four more years in office.
Not far behind her were Democrats Mike Troxell, of Schererville, and County Councilman Jerome Prince, of Gary, to put their names in for the county assessor race for their party primary.
Not everyone waiting for the Lake County Board of Elections and Voter Registration doors to open Wednesday morning for the filing period was a familiar party stalwart.
Second in line was Jamal Washington, who brought his daughters, Thyme, 9, and Destiny, 13, to the office counter to sign up as Democratic candidate for the Lake County Council 3rd District seat being vacated by incumbent Jerome Prince.
"It's my first time running," said Washington, a graduate of Gary's Lew Wallace High School and an Army veteran.
Joseph Gomeztagle, who has also been known as "Joe Taxes" filed as a Democrat Wednesday for St. John Township assessor.
Gomeztagle came to public attention a decade ago promoting a lawsuit that replaced the old system of property tax assessment, which the State Tax Court ruled unfairly benefited owners of older properties in Gary, Hammond and East Chicago, with assessment based on market value.
The change caused taxes in those three communities to skyrocket. Taxpayers' dissatisfaction with the higher bills resulted a circuit breaker system of property tax caps now in the state Constitution.
More than 60 others filed Wednesday including:
County Clerk Mike Brown, a Democrat, for re-election
County Commissioner Roosevelt Allen, a Democrat, for re-election
County Auditor Peggy Katona, a Democrat, for county treasurer
County Treasurer John Petalas, a Democrat, for county auditor
County Council members Christine Cid and Ted Bilski, both Democrats, for re-election
County Councilman Eldon Strong, a Republican, for re-election
Oscar Martinez, a Democrat, for sheriff
Ron Matlock and Omar M. "Carl Hemphill" Abdullah, both Democrats, for the County Council 3rd District
Katy Dowling, a Democrat, for County Council 4th District
Scott Rakos, a Democrat, for County Council 5th District
Randall Guernsey, a Democrat, for Hobart Township assessor
St. John Township Trustee Jean Shepherd, a Republican, for re-election
St. John Assessor Melody "Mel" Kikkert, a Republican, for re-election
Rob Guetzloff, a Democrat, for St. John Township trustee
When filing closes Feb. 7, hundreds of incumbents and novices are expected to certified to seek voters' approval.
The offices up for grabs include: county assessor, auditor, clerk, commissioner, 1st District; seven County council districts, sheriff, treasurer, 49 township trustee, assessor and advisory board posts and 11 municipal offices in Cedar Lake, Dyer, Lowell, Schererville and St. John.