Porter County voters in Tuesday’s election will elect a new South District
On the ballot are Democrat Laura Shurr Blaney and Republican Mike Heinold.
Commissioner races are voted upon by all county voters regardless of what
district they reside in.
Heinold, of Morgan Twp., is a director of sales for the FranklinCovey
company and also is managing partner of Iddea Group, an IT solution company.
This is his first attempt at public office although he has had experience
campaigning for his dad Vic Heinold when he held office as a state senator.
Blaney, a Porter Twp. resident, is currently an at-large member of the
Porter County Council and has been for the past six years. Her other role
includes co-managing a small business called One Guy with Tools with her
husband Ken. She said if elected she will be a full-time commissioner.
Heinold’s goals include serving every citizen and finding creative ways to
manage customer service efficiently along with building quality resources in
all communities so business will be attracted and bring jobs. It is his goal
over the next four years to lower the County’s unemployment rate to lower
than 5 percent, the level it was before the start of the economic recession
in 2008. Heinold said the County must also have fiduciary responsibility and
use taxpayer dollars efficiently while delivering services. He plans to work
with different officials and synergize their ideas or as he quotes
businessman Stephen R. Covey, “two heads are better than one.”
Blaney puts emphasis on job creation. She cites her support of the Ind. 49
Corridor Project as an example and would favor partnering with cities and
towns on similar projects that could bring jobs with good wages. Improving
the quality of life is Blaney’s next top goal. Her ideas include introducing
wellness programs and supporting the arts. She would also be committed to
public safety and cost-effectiveness such as continuing negotiations with
Lakeshore PAWS on building a new animal shelter using donations instead of
Along with agreeing about the need for more jobs in Porter County, both
candidates said they can work well with others and reach across party lines.
They said they understand the challenges facing the county such as funding
staff at the Porter County Jail, E-911 operations and using more “outside of
the box” ways to keep the county solvent.
Blaney said she would favor a plan to use the hospital interest funds that
could go to capital projects as long as they do not produce any reoccurring
cost. The principal should remain untouched to accrue additional interest,
Heinold shares the opinion that the $163 million hospital sale principal is
a great “safety net” for the County and should be seen as an endowment to
create new economic projects. He said he would not be opposed to tapping
into the principal if all County Commissioners and County Council members
can agree on a use for the money.
Blaney said her experience as a County Council member has given her in depth
knowledge of county government and she feels she could continue making a
difference as a policymaker.
Heinold said his 25 years in business and managing personnel and budgets
give him the skills to competently serve as Commissioner. He added that his
background in technology will be an asset to the County as it inches toward
an E-Gov web-based platform.
The winner of this general election will succeed outgoing Democrat
Commissioner Carole Knoblock who decided not to seek reelection.