Porter County Commissioner Robert Harper announced Thursday that he will
seek re-election this year.
In a press release, Harper cited a list of accomplishments made in the past
six years since he first became commissioner. His list included helping to
start the county’s first redevelopment commission, which he said is now
meeting monthly and attempting to secure more federal grants for the county.
His list also included his work on solving drainage problems, including
passing “one of the most progressive drainage ordinances that exists in the
state of Indiana.” The drainage ordinance requires new developments in the
unincorporated areas to undergo an independent engineering review.
Other accomplishments cited by Harper include introducing an ethics
ordinance; establishing a green space ordinance for future subdivisions;
working on the first overhaul of the county’s development ordinance in more
than 30 years; starting a countywide drainage study that includes
municipalities; passing the county’s first unsafe building ordinance;
passing a soil erosion ordinance; and passing an ordinance affecting the
commercial corridors of Porter County.
Harper said, however, that he feels the most important role he has played as
commissioner has been “speaking out against proposals that continue to be
made that involve us partnering with other counties and increasing taxes for
regional type projects.”
Harper said the projects have been presented as creating jobs, an argument
that he said is “simply nonsense.”
“I do recognize that some of these projects will result in short-term
construction jobs, but as far as long-term employment, I just do not believe
that anyone has made a good argument that such employment will result from
these activities,” he said.
Harper added that most people believe that “we cannot buy ourselves into
“If we are gong to attract businesses to Porter County, I think we must do
so by maintaining a quality of life (and) that is done by ensuring that
future development is done in an orderly manner,” he said, citing the need
to ensure public safety, to provide educational opportunities such as those
provided by Valparaiso University and Ivy Tech, and to maintain low taxes.
Harper, a Democrat, is a former Porter County Prosecutor who was appointed
commissioner in late 2003 to fill the vacancy created by the death of
commissioner Larry Sheets. He was elected to a full term in 2006.
As of Wednesday, no other candidates announced their intention to run for
the center district seat, the only commissioner seat on the ballot this
year. The commissioner position is elected countywide, though candidates
must live in the center district.