ELECTION 2012

GOP foe criticizes Munster incumbent's lack of legislative accomplishments

2012-10-21T20:07:00Z 2012-10-21T20:18:14Z GOP foe criticizes Munster incumbent's lack of legislative accomplishmentsChelsea Schneider Kirk chelsea.schneider@nwi.com, (219) 933-3241 nwitimes.com

Incumbent state Rep. Mara Candelaria Reardon is running for re-election against William Fine, a Munster Republican who claims his Democratic opponent hasn't "accomplished a lot" in her three terms in office.

The redrawn House District 12 represents Highland, Munster and portions of Hammond and Griffith.

Candelaria Reardon, a Munster Democrat, said her biggest accomplishment as a state legislator was her work on the House Ways and Means Committee to help secure $14 million in funding for the Little Calumet River levee project in the aftermath of the 2008 floods.

"Those are all things I worked on in a bipartisan fashion ... to make it happen," she said. "That's why I believe I represent all citizens in the 12th district."

If elected to a fourth term, Candelaria Reardon said she would focus on the expansion of commuter rail service to Munster and employment opportunities for veterans.

Fine, who runs a Highland law practice, said he would work on bringing transportation and logistics jobs to the area.

"I agree with (Gary) Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson that we are at a location where we have natural advantages and some existing infrastructure to develop transportation and logistics," Fine said.

Both candidates said they would focus on education if elected.

Fine wants to tweak the formula the state uses to fund schools, pointing out the School Town of Munster receives less funding per student than Gary Community School Corp.

"No one seems to know exactly how to address urban schools," Fine said. "It seems to be the general agreement of throwing more money toward them with not necessarily getting better results. I am a product of the Munster school system. They are operating at 2008 levels."

Candelaria Reardon said education reform should not come at the expense of public schools.

"I believe we need to use existing resources and best practices to try to address some of those needs without underfunding public schools," she said.

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