Chesterton Tribune



14 Democrats vie for nomination to 1st District seat in U.S. House

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Fully 14 Democrats are seeking their party’s nomination to the seat in the U.S. House currently held by U.S. Rep. Pete Viscloksy, D-1st, who is not running for re-election.

That crowded field has made the Chesterton Tribune’s favored form of candidate coverage--the detailed questionnaire---impractical. Instead, the Tribune has compiled thumbnails of each candidate based on information provided on his or her campaign website or Facebook page.

The Tribune was unable to find a campaign web presence for three of the candidates: Jayson Reeves, John Henry Hall, and Carrie Castro.

Antonio “Tony” Daggett Sr.

U.S. Army Lt. Colonel and chaplain, 30+ years. Certified school district superintendent. Married, father of 10. Positions include the following.

Trade: “Defend United States steel and American farmers from unfair trade practices.”

Culture: “Highlight the need for national unity over tribalism.”

The environment: “Pursue government protection of residents of East Chicago and the region by stopping the exposure of people to arsenic, lead, and airborne pollutant dust.”

Education: “Engage the state government to help ‘reset’ the educational system in Gary and other school districts to enhance the NWI workforce.”

Drug problem: “Support families by providing opioid crisis assistance and developing additional childcare options available for Lake, Porter, and LaPorte counties in response.” Gun control: “Ensure universal background checks while establishing additional gun safety measures to protect the schools and communities of our nation.”

Hammond Mayor Thomas M. McDermott Jr.

In his fifth term. U.S. Navy veteran, nuclear submariner. Law degree, Notre Dame. Sagamore of the Wabash. Former deputy chair, Indiana Democrat Party. Positions and track record include the following.

Health care: Creation of “Medicare for All Who Want It” plan.

Economic development: “I have a proven track record of thinking outside the box to bring investments to the region. During the last 16 years we’ve had over $900 million in investments, bringing thousands of jobs for Northwest Indiana residents and keeping our labor unions working.”

The environment: “I have made Hammond the ‘Trail Capital of Indiana’ by pioneering over 25 miles of pedestrian and multi-use trails"; “Under my leadership, Hammond formed an energy conservation program that will reduce the city’s carbon footprint and save over $26 million in the next 15 years.”

Education: “I supported efforts on referendums to fund the construction of a new high school, make improvements to other school buildings, and increase teachers’ pay.”

Endorsements: Numerous locals of the International Association of Firefighters, including Chesterton Local 4600; Indiana Chamber of Commerce; Operating Engineers Local 150. NWI Building & Construction Trades Council.

State Rep. Mara Candelaria Reardon, D-Munster

First Latina elected to the Indiana House, in 2006. Service on Road and Transportation Committee; Utilities, Energy, and Telecommunications Committee. Elected Chair, Indiana House Democrat Caucus, in 2019. Positions include the following:

Labor: Supports policies to protect unions and increase membership; opposes “Right to Work for Less” laws.

Women’s healthcare: 100-percent pro-choice record; pledge to “stand up for women’s reproductive rights 100 percent of the time.”

Healthcare: A “Medicare-for-All-Who-Want It” option; expansion of coverage and premium subsidies for lower-income Americans and seniors.

Social Security: Not an “entitlement” but “an earned benefit that you paid into”; pledge to “do whatever it takes to prevent Trump and Republicans from robbing your retirement.”

Gun control: “Proudly earned an ‘F’ rating from the NRA”; pledge to work to reinstate previous ban on assault weapons.

Education: Pledge to be “a check on Secretary Devos"; “push for universal pre-K and early childhood education.”

The environment: Development of a “Green New Economy to rebuild our energy economy and work toward carbon neutrality"; global climate change equals “existential threat"; “emphasis on compensation of low-income and communities of color that disproportionately experience environmental injustice.”

Endorsements: Latino Victory Fund; IBT Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Transportation; State Rep. Pat Boy, D-Michigan.

Jayson Reeves

No campaign web presence.

Scott Costello

Social worker. Bachelor’s, Illinois State University. Master’s, University of Illinois, Chicago.

Reason for running: “I am a social worker and my candidacy is to fight for the working class which is horribly under-represented in Congress, where 98 percent of elected officials are from the upper classes. Everyday Americans are struggling: 40 percent of Americans have less than $400 in the bank; 400 richest families own more wealth than 60 percent of Americans. We cannot continue with extreme income disparity. We are a consumer-based economy and our purchasing power is decreasing every year. Meanwhile, China’s markets are booming and American corporations continue to invest there and not here.”

Key messages: “Representing working-class Americans and protecting all unions”; “Medicare for All”; “Invest in sustainable technologies to keep America energy independent, competitive with China, and to reduce carbon emissions.”

John Henry Hall

Attorney and widower of former U.S. Rep. Katie Hall, D-1st, 1982-85. No campaign web presence.

Sabrina Haake

Attorney, 13 years’ experience in federal and constitutional law, 12 years’ in municipal law. Assistant General Counsel and Independent Council, Chicago Board of Education. Married, wife Jill. Positions include the following.

The environment: “We need to declare a state of emergency to address climate change right now"; “A greener economy is a stronger economy.”

Healthcare: “Healthcare for profit and escalating drug costs are forcing families to make difficult decisions"; “I support Medicaid for All,” which would “Establish a national single-payer health insurance program” and “Eliminate out-of-pocket expenses like copayments.”

Education: “We need trauma sensitive education policies”; “We can increase learning in the classroom by identifying students who need social and mental health supports due to trauma at home.”

Racial justice: “The legalization of marijuana is the first step to racial justice and is also good for the economy.”

Gay rights: “Gay rights are human rights"; “People think that the right to marry means that gay people are protected in other ways. We aren’t.” Dogs: “It’s critical we stand up for dogs because they have no voice to speak for themselves.”

North Township Trustee Frank J. Mrvan

Fifteen years in office.

Reason for running: “I’m running for Congress because we need someone with a proven record of bringing people together. As an elected official, I didn’t stay in an office. Instead, I looked into the eyes of men, women, and children, some who lost their jobs, their homes to flooding, even their innocence to sexual predators. That was unacceptable for me. I took swift action to form alliances, secure funding and new legislation that put Indiana families first.”

Signature initiative as Trustee: The No More Secrets program to protect children from predators; “this program facilitates conversations about body safety, Internet safety, and phone responsibility.” Priorities include the following.

Economy: To “create good-paying jobs and a Northwest Indiana economy that works for everyone.”

Healthcare: To “improve access to affordable healthcare options.”

Education: To “ensure that public funds are dedicated to support public education.”

Environment: “It is past time that the federal government recognizes the value of science and the challenges of pollution and climate change.”

Endorsements: U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-1st; American Federation of Teachers; International Longshoremen Association; Indiana Alliance for Retired Persons.

Jim Harper

VHS graduate, 2001. Law degree, Georgetown University. Practice: Harper and Harper. Positions include the following.

Healthcare: Medicare for All; “A majority of Americans experiences lapses in coverage or have insurance that does not adequately cover their health needs. I believe that Medicare for All is the best way to fix this injustice.”

The environment: “We are in a global climate crisis. Our window of opportunity to combat this crisis is rapidly closing. I believe it is urgent to pass a Green New Deal in order to build a green economy and give Americans high-paying jobs.”

Labor: “I will fight for a national ban on Right to Work laws which are meant to weaken collective bargaining.”

Education: Public education “is under attack in our country. I will use federal dollars to fully fund our public schools, raise teacher pay, give pre-K to every child, and make public college and trade school affordable to every American.”

President Trump: “We have a president who is undermining our democracy and does not respect the rule of law. As a member of Congress, I will fight to ensure that this and any president is held accountable for their abuses to the greatest appropriate extent.”

Melissa A. Borom

Government affairs manager, AAR Corporation, provider of global aviation services. Law degree, Valparaiso University. Former staffer, offices of U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-1st, and U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. Named “Top 20 Under 40” by Northwest Indiana Times. Priorities include the following.

Jobs: To “fight for job and skills training programs so that people can begin working in growing industries, such as aeronautics.”

Healthcare: To “build on the successes of the Affordable Care Act while correcting its mistakes.”

The environment: To “increase funding for the EPA and for investments in clean, renewable energy.”

Criminal justice reform: To “decriminalize marijuana use, advocate for the end of private prisons, and have a stronger hand to investigate police offenses.”

Endorsements: U.S. House Whip Jim Clyburn, D-S.C.; U.S. Rep. and Homeland Security Chair Bennie Thompson, D-Mississippi; U.S. Rep. and former Congressional Black Caucus chair Cedric Richmond, D-La.

Ryan Farrar

Studied at Saint Joseph’s College. Lives in Roselawn. “Working Class. Progressive.”

Tweet: “If you claim to be a resister, but are against @BernieSanders, what the hell do you think you’re resisting, anyway.”

Hashtag positions: #EndForProfitPrisons. #Medicare4all. #GreenNewDeal. #HealthcareIsAHumanRight. #CampaignFinanceReform. #LivableWages. #RightToOrganize. #EndRightToWork. #LegalizeCannabis. #NoUnjustWar. #CriminalJusticeReform. #EndTheWarOnDrugs. #ProtectSocialSecurity.

Carrie Castro

No campaign web presence.

Andrew Sylwestrowicz.

Veteran, U.S. Marine Corps. Former firefighter, City of Hammond. Studied at DeVry Institute of Technology, Chicago. “Please be kind to Elect me 1st Dist. Congressman on 6/2/2020.”

Wendell Mosby

Lives in Schererville. Bachelor’s in production management, Iowa State University.

Reason for running: “I’m running for Congress because the region’s economy is changing and we need a transformative leader like myself with 21st-century solutions to address the challenges ahead. I’m running for Congress because we need a leader who will fight for an equitable education for all.”

Positions include the following. “We Need Paid Family Leave Now.” “Workers Deserve a $15 Minimum Wage.” “Protect Our First-Responders.” “Support Our Veterans.” “Repeal Right to Work.” “Universal Child Care.” “Supporting Our Teachers With Cancellation of Student Debt.” “Improve Access to Affordable Healthcare.” “A High Quality Public Education for Every Student.”


Posted 5/19/2020




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