VALPARAISO | It only took two ballots to declare a winner in the six-way battle to fill the vacancy on the Center Township Board.
Scott Tufts, 45, who described himself as active in the community and in the Republican Party but never a candidate before, got the necessary majority of the 27 township precinct committeemen voting at Tuesday's GOP caucus at the Porter County Administration Center.
A Porter County resident for 20 years and a Center Township resident for 13, Tufts works as sales and marketing director for Accucraft Imaging in Hammond. As to why he was chosen over others with actual elected experience, such as former County Councilman Jim Burge and former Porter Township Board member Keith Hall, Tufts said part of it was a desire by the committeemen for new blood without any preconceived agendas.
"And I worked it," he said of seeking the position. "I made a lot of calls and talked to people and showed them why I would be a good representative on the board."
His goals as a board member will be to "keep Center Township moving in a fiscally conservative position so we can have money in the bank and are able to help the citizens of the township." Like several of the other candidates, Tufts said the board's one appointment to the Valparaiso School Board also is important to him.
"I like the appointed board," he said. "I think there are a lot of people who don't want to go through the full election process. I think we lose a lot of good people. With the elected board, you get the politicians and not the professional people who don't want to go through that."
Tufts will serve the remaining two years of Charles Hazlett's term. Hazlett retired Dec. 31 after serving 18 years on the board. As to whether he will go through the election process himself to seek a full term next year, Tufts said he hasn't decided yet.
"I haven't thought that far ahead. I'll see how it goes for the next year and then decide."
He was officially sworn in following his election Tuesday, but another ceremony is expected to be held when the Township Board holds a regular meeting today. Others who sought the board position were Ralph Neff, Doug McMillan and Sandy Knoernschild.