VALPARAISO | Democratic Porter County Councilwoman Laura Blaney was on her way Tuesday night to winning the South District seat on the Porter County Board of Commissioners.
Blaney was leading Republican challenger Mike Heinold with 41 percent of the vote in, according to the county voter registration website.
Blaney, 44, who was glad to see the campaign come to an end, said voters want to see an end to all the strife among county officials.
"They want people to work together more," she said from the Democrat gathering at The Venue in downtown Valparaiso.
Blaney and other members of the Porter County Council were recently involved a heated dispute over the planning for next year's budget. She blamed the conflict on the lack of necessary figures until late in the game, which resulted in no opportunity for the dueling sides to negotiate an agreement.
Blaney said she will be able to work not only with the two other commissioners, but also with her fellow council members.
"I don't think there's anybody I can't work with," she said.
Heinold, who was impressed by all the support he received during his first run for elected office, said from a Republican gathering at the Legacy Banquet Center in Valparaiso that voters voiced concern during the campaign about the local economy.
"I just think they want to see Porter County continue to grow," he said.
Heinold said the county can play a positive role by being more proactive and taking advantage of the $160 million in proceeds from the sale of the county hospital, along with the interest, which totaled $11.8 million at the end of July.
Heinold's campaign hit a bump in the road Oct. 27 when he was arrested by Valparaiso police on DUI charges after being stopped with only one functioning headlight and after attempting to turn on to a road under construction and clearly marked as closed, police said.
Blaney has said as commissioner she would work to make the county more user-friendly for businesses eying the area by establishing an easier way for them to gather the information they need. This likely could be done with existing resources within the planning department and/or commissioners office.
Blaney is familiar with the needs of businesses as former owner of Kelsey's Steak House and Stay Clean Carpet Cleaning, and current owner of One Guy With Tools.