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Valparaiso City Council Matt Murphy is pictured Friday with U.S. Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., during a mayoral campaign fundraising event. Young has formally endorsed Murphy for mayor. 

VALPARAISO — Councilman Matt Murphy, the GOP candidate vying to be the city’s next mayor, has received an endorsement from a sitting U.S. Senator.

U.S. Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., paid a visit to the Region on Friday for a Murphy campaign fundraising luncheon at Task Force Tips, 3701 Innovation Way in Valparaiso. He was joined by Murphy and outgoing Mayor Jon Costas, elected Valparaiso's mayor in 2003.

Outside the event, Young told The Times he decided to throw his support behind Murphy because it’s critical the next mayor is as strong of local leader as Costas, also a Republican.

“Sometimes it’s not international affairs or even national politics that’s of greatest interest to people, it’s making sure that their potholes are filled, that their neighbors are neighborly, that the local business environment is one that fosters job creation and leads to a high quality of life for local residents,” Young said.

He said Costas demonstrated for years the power of effective local leadership and believes Murphy is the ideal candidate to carry on that tradition alongside a Republican-controlled city council.

Young noted Murphy’s background in local government, includes his time working as the city's economic development director under Costas, and as a member of the Board of Works and Redevelopment Commission in revitalizing the historic downtown.

"But he also deeply connected to his community, having lived his entire life here, having been active in his local church and having demonstrated his real heart for service,” Young said.

In February, Murphy filed paperwork for candidacy. He faces off with businessman Bill Durnell, the winner of the Democratic primary, in the November election.

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In the spring ahead of the primary, Murphy was leading the pack in terms of campaign fundraising in Porter County.

It’s no question that Young’s endorsement and name recognition will bode well for Murphy as he restocks his campaign war chest ahead of the November election.

"I have a lot of confident that he’ll be successful. I’m up here to do whatever I can to help him," Young said. 

Murphy, a lifelong resident of Valparaiso, graduated from Valparaiso High School and Indiana University before getting his MBA at Valparaiso University. He is the president of Valparaiso-based Jifco Products Inc.

According to Murphy’s website, as mayor he plans to prioritize road paving projects, partner with local faith and nonprofits groups to fight the opioid epidemic, ensure police have the resources they need to root out illegal drugs, bring high-paying jobs to the city and invest in residents’ quality of life.

"Having the endorsements of Young and Costas is just fantastic," Murphy said.

Murphy said he is confident heading into the final months before the November election.

"We're working as hard as we can, talking to voters, and going door to door. We're getting real positive feedback on the leadership we've had over the last 16 years under Mayor Costas and they want to see it continue."

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Northlake County Reporter

Lauren covers North Lake County government, breaking news, crime and environmental issues for The Times. She previously worked at The Herald-News in Joliet. She holds a master’s degree in Public Affairs Reporting.