HAMMOND | Hoping to take her community involvement to the next level, Janet Venecz recently announced plans to run for the Hammond City Council's 4th District seat.
While she's never before held any elected or appointed office, Venecz is no stranger to local government. The 12-year Hammond resident is the founding president of Edison Community Watch, a neighborhood organization in South Hammond, and regularly attends City Council, Board of Public Works and Redevelopment Commission meetings.
Venecz said she's been thinking about a run for the better part of six months after becoming comfortable and knowledgeable with how local government really works.
"I've been able to see the process and with Edison Community Watch, I've tackled some of the issues," she said.
In recent months, Venecz has played a key role in preventing expanded liquor sales in her district and also participating in meetings to identify problem landlords and tenants, something she plans to continue.
"There's a lot of progress going on in Hammond and I certainly have many ideas to keep that progress going," Venecz said.
If elected, Venecz, wife of Planning and Development employee and former city Democratic Chairman Phil Venecz, said she plans on being a full-time councilwoman and holding quarterly meetings in the district to address residents' concerns.
Venecz said she also plans to work closely with city departments to maximize services and is look for ways to more equally distribute casino dollars in the district, which are ordinarily used for infrastructure improvements.
Early in the election season, Venecz joins Redevelopment Commission member Phil Golden and Precinct Committeman Bill Emerson in seeking the Democratic Party nod for the seat currently held by Republican Kim Poland, who is expected to seek re-election.