MUNSTER — State Rep. Mara Candelaria Reardon, D-Munster, is promising to bring "bold vision" and "leadership" to the Capitol, if she's elected to represent Northwest Indiana in Congress.
On Thursday, the six-term state lawmaker announced she will not seek reelection next year to the Indiana House to instead try to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-Gary.
The East Chicago native said her priorities as a member of the U.S. House would include protecting health care, creating jobs and fighting "the dangerous policies of the Trump administration."
"I've never been afraid to speak the truth to power in Indiana, and now I'm ready take that fight to D.C.," Candelaria Reardon said.
She pointed to her record representing Munster, Highland, Griffith and Hammond at the Statehouse as proof she can deliver legislative wins for her constituents, including $14 million for Little Calumet River levees and continuing efforts to increase teacher pay.
Candelaria Reardon is the first woman, the first Latina and the second former Visclosky staffer, after Valparaiso attorney Jim Harper, to enter the contest to represent Indiana's U.S. House District 1, which spans Lake and Porter counties and western LaPorte County.
Prior to her 2006 election to the Indiana House, Candelaria Reardon served the district's constituents by working as a grant administrator for Visclosky.
In 2010, Visclosky said Candelaria Reardon was the "epitome of leadership and civil service within Northwest Indiana" in a statement he entered in the Congressional Record in celebration of September's Hispanic Heritage Month.
"Being the first Latina elected to the Indiana General Assembly, Representative Candelaria Reardon's service is an inspiration not only to the Hispanic community, but to women of every cultural background," Visclosky said.
Besides Candelaria Reardon and Harper, the other declared candidates in the U.S. House race are Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. and North Township Trustee Frank J. Mrvan.
At least a half-dozen more Northwest Indiana Democrats are known or believed to be considering a congressional run, including Highland Clerk-Treasurer Michael Griffin.
Filing for the U.S. House race opens Jan. 8 and closes Feb. 7. The primary election is May 5.
Visclosky is the longest serving congressman in state history. He's represented Northwest Indiana in the U.S. House since 1985.