CROWN POINT — Pat Gabrione is leaving the political fray after two decades as a leading voice in Lake County election and GOP party affairs.
The Schererville Republican Party announced this week he will retire June 17 as assistant director of the Lake County Election and Registration Board.
"It was time. I leave with the satisfaction that my staff and I have successfully fulfilled all of our commitments," Gabrione said.
Dan Dernulc, the county Republican chairman, thanked Gabrione for his service and announced 2nd Ward Lowell Town Councilwoman LeAnn Angerman will replace him. The assistant director's salary is $51,559 per year.
Angerman, who has been a Lowell town resident for more than 24 years, graduated from Ball State University, has served as a 911 dispatcher for Crown Point and Lowell and was the first probation officer for the Lowell Town Court. She also has served as precinct committee woman and chairwoman of the Tri-Creek Republican Committee.
Dernulc said she has agreed to finish her term as a 2nd Ward Lowell town councilwoman and not run for re-election.
Lake County is one of only a handful of Indiana counties with a bipartisan board and staff to oversee elections and voter registration. The county clerk serves on the five-member elections board along with four other members appointed equally by the county's Democratic and Republican chairmen. The two parties are equally represented on the elections staff.
Gabrione had a 30-year career with Sears, where he was telecommunications director, before he retired there in 1999 and became chairman of Schererville's GOP organization.
He joined forces with the late county GOP Chairman John Curley to reinvigorate the county's Republican Party. Curley appointed Gabrione in 2003 as one of the two Republican elections board members.
Gabrione stepped down from the election board in 2013 to become the election staff's ranking Republican and second in command.
Gabrione said he enjoyed playing a role in the growth of the county's 11 early voting sites, pay parity of election staff employees of both political affiliations and rolling out an e-poll of voter records.
He also has been at the center of a Republican push to eliminate Lake County precincts with fewer than 600 active voters. Records show Lake County has 283 precincts this small, the most of any county in Indiana.
The Indiana NAACP has sued to stop the process on grounds it would disproportionately affect minority voters in Gary and East Chicago.