Both the Democratic and Republican ballots this spring offer candidates for at-large seats on the Porter County Council. But this is a vote-for-three choice, and there are only three candidates on the GOP ticket. Democrats, however, have to narrow the field.
Democrats on the ballot this spring include incumbents Sylvia Graham and Dan Whitten, plus Kevin Cornett and Susie Talevski.
Cornett serves on the Valparaiso Park Board. He served on the Valparaiso schools superintendent Advisory Board during the recent rebuilding.
Graham worked as a family nurse practitioner, having 37 years of hospital-based experience. This is her 12th year on the Porter County Council. She has served on the Plan Commission, Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District board, Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission, Porter County Aging & Community Services board and with the Emergency Management Agency.
Talevski said her background as an attorney, and recently becoming a registered civil and domestic relations mediator, will bring a fresh new perspective to the county fiscal management process.
Whitten is in his 16th year on the council. He has served as chairman the majority of those years. He was a police officer for years and now is an attorney who specializes in bankruptcies and municipal law.
Cornett, a retired operating engineer, is focused on infrastructure and drainage.
“We must maintain the infrastructure we already have and carefully plan for future growth,” he said. “Keeping in mind that water always wins, we must maintain the miles of ditches in the county.”
The pandemic is also on Cornett’s mind.
“Because of the virus we are all dealing with, our health department is a vital department in our county. I would like to see this department enhanced to ensure we can keep our citizens safe,” Cornett said.
Graham said her top two priorities are to promote the public safety and support programs that help provide stability and job growth while maintaining fiscal responsibilities of continued low taxes.
“I will continue to support Porter-Starke Services, Opportunity Enterprises and Porter County Aging Community Services,” she said. “During these difficult times of the COVID-19 public health crisis, I want to be a voice for the people of Porter County, working flexibly and dynamically with other elected officials.”
Talevski’s top two priorities are to preserve the environment by seeking ways that the county can use renewable energy and to properly maintain the county infrastructure. This includes the rapid repair of roads and bridges.
“It's not acceptable for county roads to be rendered public hazards due to chronic potholes,” Talevski said. “I intend to push for a rapid response restoration for potholes on county roads.”
For Whitten, his top priorities are public safety, creating jobs and being responsible with taxpayers’ money.
“We need to work tirelessly toward making Porter County a destination where people want to live and raise their families," Whitten said. "To do that, we need to attract employers to the area, ensure the highest degree of safety for our residents and keep the county cost of living manageable.”
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