CROWN POINT | Lake County Commissioner Roosevelt D. Allen Jr. was feeling right at home in his new district Tuesday.
Allen, a 66-year-old Gary funeral home director with 32 years in government service, was headed for a third term as one of county government's chief executives.
Allen was running in a newly configured district that previously included Gary and East Chicago. He used his campaign to introduce himself to new constituents in Merrillville, New Chicago, Hobart, Lake Station and part of Crown Point.
He had received more than 80 percent of the vote and held a commanding lead over his primary opponent, Lita M. Iatarola Filippo, a Gary businesswoman.
He currently faces no Republican opponent in the fall.
Although Allen declined to veto a local option income tax last year, that played little role in the primary debate.
Filippo called for a change, claiming Allen was too close to county contractors who contributed to his re-election campaign, and criticized him for a conflict of interest involving county payments to an Allen family concern, Guy and Allen Funeral Directors, of Gary.
Allen said the campaign contributions were legal and transparent. He said his and all funeral homes in Lake County receive money from county government's veteran burial benefits program. He said the payments are actually to the cemeteries and veterans families, even though the funeral homes are listed as vendors in county records.
Allen said voters appreciated his active role working with the Economic Development Administration in Washington, D.C., to access to millions of new dollars in federal grants.
He also serves as chairman of the E-911 commission to consolidate 17 police, fire and emergency service dispatch units throughout Lake County into a single centralized dispatch center as required by Indiana law. And he has worked with Sheriff John Buncich to implement Lake County Jail upgrades required by the U.S. Justice Department.
Allen said voters approved of his 44 years of successful business experience and 32 years of experience in local government. He served two decades on the Calumet Township Advisory Board before being elected county commissioner.