In recent weeks, The Times Editorial Board has made several endorsements for Region mayoral candidates and school referendums heading into Tuesday's primary election.

Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Tuesday's election.

Here's a recap of our endorsements for this primary election cycle:

Gary mayor

A change is needed as Gary slips farther into economic an and economic and public safety abyss.

Incumbent Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson hasn't delivered after eight years in office.

Jerome Prince, currently the Lake County assessor, is the candidate best positioned to succeed Freeman-Wilson and provide a new "fiscal hawk" direction for the beleaguered city.

Hobart mayor

Hobart has thrived under the leadership of three-term Mayor Brian Snedecor, and he has earned a chance to keep the ball rolling.

Since the start of Snedecor's leadership in 2008, the city has experienced a rebirth. Its lake areas have been booming with new restaurants and shops.

We endorse Snedecor over Democratic primary challenger Jerry Herzog, a Hobart councilman who also has served the city well.

East Chicago mayor

Since its founding, East Chicago has been a city with great bones for development and success.

With Mayor Anthony Copeland at the helm, it finally has a leader who knows how to use those bones as a frame for a better future in Lake County's struggling urban core.

Copeland is seeking his third term as mayor in the May 7 Democratic primary election, and city voters should give him that chance.

Democratic primary challenger John Aguilera has too much past political baggage and is not the right fit.

Portage mayor

The next mayor of embattled Portage must be ready to lead the city from the scandalous shadows of a former mayor who became a convicted felon while leading the Porter County municipality.

The good news for Portage voters is that four of the five mayoral primary candidates — three Democrats and one Republican — already are playing an active role in that healing process.

Portage residents already have a slate of candidates who hold great promise for the city's future.

In the Democratic primary, The Times Editorial Board endorses current Clerk-Treasurer Chris Stidham based on his specific plans for righting the city's ship, including timelines for repairing crumbling roadways and sidewalks.

Republican John Cannon is unopposed for his parties nomination in the primary.

Valparaiso mayor

Valparaiso's next mayor will have big shoes to fill given the development successes of current Mayor Jon Costas, who is not running for re-election.

On the Democratic side, The Times Editorial Board endorses Bill Durnell, a local business owner who's already vested in one of the city's greatest assets — its vibrant downtown.

This gives Durnell, who also has shown himself as an effective neighborhood association leader, a stronger edge over the other Democratic candidate, Councilwoman Deborah Porter.

Republican candidate, Valparaiso Councilman Matt Murphy, faces no opposition for his party's nomination.

Michigan City mayor

If you’ve been to Michigan City lately, you’ve seen the thumbprint of Mayor Ron Meer.

Under his leadership, Michigan City is reinventing itself and addressing problems that have lingered for years.

The city’s downtown is undergoing a renaissance, with artist lofts in place and a new downtown plaza under development. A plaza brought dramatic change to downtown Valparaiso, sparking similar interest elsewhere in the Region. The city planner who led Valparaiso’s effort is now in Michigan City, promising to bring more foot traffic to the new park and to downtown businesses.

Meer is an easy choice for our endorsement and city voters in the Democratic primary.

We make no endorsement in the city's Republican primary.

Hanover schools referendum

One of the most successful school districts in the state serving a growing, marquee community shouldn't need to use temporary trailers and portable toilets to sustain its student body.

It's why voters living within Hanover Community School Corp. boundaries should vote yes in the May 7 election on a referendum to provide the financial resources to sustain the public schools there.

After all, quality Hanover schools, which serve Cedar Lake and portions of St. John and Crown Point, already help sustain the community's fortunes, boosting home values and providing an incentive for residents to stay in the area and for new ones to migrate there.

Hanover boasts a stellar 94.9% graduation rate, exceeding the state average of 88.1%. Taxpayers must see the value in this and help to keep it going.

River Forrest schools referendum

Most school districts that seek additional funding support through a property tax referendum aren't asking for gold-studded frills.

In the case of River Forest Community School Corp., administrators and teachers there literally just want to keep the lights on.

Voters owe it to the children living within school district boundaries to pass a funding referendum on the May 7 primary ballot to keep the district from plunging off a fiscal cliff.

Like a number of local government bodies in the county, the school district faces the full impact in 2020 of state-imposed property tax caps, which have created funding challenges throughout Lake County government.

The tax caps have sapped $250,000 per year in River Forest funding, but a previous voter-approved funding referendum helped the school system survive, school officials there have said.

Voters need to step up again and bridge this important gap.

Duneland schools referendum

Duneland School Corp. prides itself on individualized instruction for each student.

From its CTE, or career technical education vocational program, to its participation in the rigorous global International Baccalaureate, high school diploma program and many other programs, the district is continually upgrading its offerings based on changes in state law.

New programs that will best prepare students for a viable and successful career pathway tailored to their personal talents and interests are always in the works, interim Superintendent Judy Malasto said.

This is why residents within the district's boundaries should vote to support the funding referendum May 7 that will not raise taxes, but will continue for seven more years the $41 million referendum funding that was passed in 2012 and expires in 2019.



Members of The Times Editorial Board are Publisher Christopher T. White, Editor Marc Chase, Deputy Editor Kerry Erickson, Assistant Local News Editor Crista Zivanovic and Regional News Editor Sharon Ross.