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LAPORTE — Democrat Sheila Brillson won a close race Tuesday for LaPorte County commissioner.

Brillson, who could not be reached for comment, defeated Republican candidate Connie Gramarossa for the District 1 seat.

Brillson is a former mayor of Michigan City. Her 30 years of work on improving the county, in and out of government, sets her apart, she said.

Gramarossa has been a commissioner since spring.

“I’m not a career politician,” Gramarossa said. “I’ve been in business all my life.”

Brillson said the county should do a capital needs assessment that looks at buildings and vehicles so a regular replacement schedule can be established. The county has been reactive for too long and needs to be proactive in addressing needs, she said.

Brillson said her top priority is to address challenges surrounding Kingsbury Industrial Park.

“It’s poised for development and economic success, and I think I have the skills and abilities to make that a focus point for the county,” she said.

Brillson’s No. 2 priority is improving transparency, including upgrading and updating the county’s website, she said.

Improving broadband access might not fall under the commissioners’ purview, but it’s something that needs to be addressed, Brillson said. The commissioners could follow Elkhart County’s lead on this issue, she said.

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Porter/LaPorte County Courts and Social Justice Reporter

Bob is a 23-year veteran of The Times. He covers county government and courts in Porter County, federal courts, police news and regional issues. He also created the Vegan in the Region blog, is an Indiana University grad and lifelong region resident.