RICH JAMES: Leyva shows what's wrong with Lake GOP

2014-06-22T00:00:00Z RICH JAMES: Leyva shows what's wrong with Lake GOPBy Rich James nwitimes.com
June 22, 2014 12:00 am  • 

Mark Leyva is pretty much the poster child for what’s wrong with the Lake County Republican Party.

This is the same Leyva who has lost to U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky five straight times.

And it will be six times following the November election.

And Republicans, who are scrapping over a bone while Democrats eat the steak, don’t seem to care.

The 1st Congressional District race is the highest local contest on the ballot. While it may not be winnable as long as Visclosky is in Congress, Republicans ought to care enough to field a quality candidate who can initiate sound debate about what’s right and wrong with America – specifically Northwest Indiana.

Leyva isn’t what NWI is all about. He is aligned with the Tea Party and doesn’t have a feeling for what makes the middle class tick.

He attributes his losses to God’s will, while he ought to look in the mirror and find out why the people don’t want him in office.

Just the other day, Leyva tried to blame Democrats for imposing a local income tax on the county.

He failed to mention that the Republican-controlled Legislature and GOP Gov. Mitch Daniels froze the levies of Lake County government units until the tax was enacted.

That freeze, which lasted seven years, put a hurt on government across the county.

I can’t recall Leyva or local Republican leadership standing up to their counterparts in Indianapolis calling for an end to the tax mandate.

I guess it was just easier to blame Democrats who finally bowed to Republican pressure and enacted the tax.

By the way, this is the same Leyva who has said those without kids in school shouldn’t have to pay property taxes to support the schools.

Lake County Republicans don’t seem to care to cultivate a quality congressional candidate or fight their downstate brethren for what’s right for the county.

Perhaps that is because local Republicans are too busy fighting each other for control of an organization that has had few successes in the last several decades.

It almost is like comparing Lake County Republicans to the Chicago Cubs. I won’t because it wouldn’t be fair to the Cubs.

The latest squabble is more than bizarre. Chairman Dan Dernulc is battling with former Chairwoman Kim Krull over a debt.

Former Chairman John Curley, who was a shining light in a Republican abyss, loaned the party $18,500 before his death in 2009.

His family and Krull want the money repaid. Dernulc refuses.

John Reed, Dernulc’s attorney, said in reference to the debt, “We don’t want ownership of that.” That’s worse than pathetic.

Dernulc says the debt belongs to Krull’s Republican Party because he changed one word in the party name when he took over. Talk about a stand-up guy.

In light of all that, it becomes clearer why Leyva is the best the party can put up for Congress. It also sends a signal that Republicans don’t really care about the future of Lake County.

They just want to fight over the bones.

Rich James has been writing about state and local government and politics for more than 30 years. Email him at rjames@219.com. The opinions are the writer’s.

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