Democrats and Republicans alike have choices on the ballot for Lake County commissioner in District 3.
Three familiar names are facing voters this spring.
"None of us suffers from name recognition problems," as Peter Katic put it.
Katic has prepared well for this candidacy, providing us a lengthy list of his positions on a variety of issues facing Lake County. He wants to reinstate the tradition of the State of the County report, which taxpayers and voters would find helpful.
Katic also favors keeping financial and other information in one location, easily accessible, so everyone will be able to see the big picture.
Rich Novak, who now is a bailiff, is thus a county employee. He would have to give up that job if he is elected commissioner. Novak also is on the North Township Board.
"We have cut everything now down to the bone" in North Township, he said, without sacrificing services. He wants to tackle the county's budget next.
When he was East Chicago Marina director, he pursued and obtained some big grants that required only a small local match. He wants to do that at the county level, too.
Mike Repay hasn't been on the Lake County Council long, but he's been there long enough to learn the ropes.
"The commissioners steer the board, and the council just puts gas in the tank," he said. He wants his turn at the tiller, before his four-year turn to fill the till is up.
Repay said if he's elected, he would address health insurance benefits as soon as he's sworn in. Employee contributions, along with health and wellness incentives, need to be addressed. One option could be to create a less generous program for new hires to reduce the county's losses.
Katic is so eager to please, and get back in the game, that he might not be the strong force the county needs. We applaud him for acknowledging his previous faults and for his five years of sobriety.
Novak also is eager to serve but isn't as knowledgeable as we would prefer. He should learn more about how the county operates before he runs again so he can offer specific suggestions.
Repay is clearly the best candidate. He already has been a voice of reason and an agent of change on the County Council. His fresh ideas would be good in the commissioner's office.
We endorse Repay.
Debbie Astor and Mark Leyva are seeking the Republican nomination for Lake County commissioner in District 3. Astor is a Dyer Town Council member; Leyva has name recognition from his repeated campaigns against U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky.
"You know what, you need a woman to run," Astor said. The one woman on the Board of Commissioners, Fran DuPey, is retiring at the end of the year.
Astor is refreshingly frank.
"How could you not have a personnel director? That's just amazing," she said. The county has hundreds of employees, and a business that size needs HR support. A full-time personnel director would help fight patronage hiring by requiring candidates be qualified for the job.
Leyva declined an invitation to meet with us, and as the lottery people say, you've got to enter to win.
Astor is a delightful candidate. Her experience on the Dyer Town Council has given her insights that would prove useful as county commissioner. We endorse Astor.