Statehouse candidates spar at Valpo forum
By Amy Lavalley Post-Tribune correspondent October 16, 2012 9:16PM
State government candidates Greg Simms, Ed Charbonneau and Debora Porter (loeft to right) share a laugh during a candidate forum sponsored by the Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce Tuesday Oct. 16, 2012. | Andy Lavalley~Sun-Times Media
If you go
The Greater Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce is hosting a forum for candidates for the Porter County Council and Board of Commissioners at 7 p.m. Oct. 23 at the Memorial Opera House, 104 Indiana Ave. Call the chamber at 462-1105 for more information.
Updated: November 18, 2012 6:47AM
VALPARAISO — From Sunday liquor sales to right to work legislation, candidates for the 4th district Statehouse seat and the 5th district state Senate seat adressed a wide array of topics during a Tuesday candidate night sponsored by the Greater Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce.
The candidates for representative are incumbent Ed Soliday, a Republican, and Democrat Greg Simms. Soliday could not be at the forum because he was in Colorado meeting with potential investors for the Illiana Expressway.
State senate candidates are Republican Ed Charbonneau, the incumbent, and Democrat Deb Porter.
All the candidates agreed that liquor sales should be allowed on Sunday, though Porter said some liquor store owners are concerned about the sale of cold beer at gas stations.
They agreed that, with a state surplus, more money should go to education at all levels, including early education for young children. They disagreed on vouchers, though. Simms and Porter, both educators, said vouchers take money from the public schools, while Charbonneau said they provide opportunities in urban communities with poor public schools.
They also parted ways on whether the Valparaiso Community Schools should have an elected board instead of an appointed one. The Valparaiso City Council appoints the majority of the board members.
Charbonneau said the decision is a local one to make, one that’s already under way, referring to a petition drive for an elected board. “I don’t know if I’m ready to say we need to be an elected board,” he said.
The school corporation should have an elected board, Simms and Porter said.
Simms said the board seems out of touch with the community, and an elected board might encourage different people to throw their hat in the ring.
Porter noted last year’s $3.2 million budget shortfall, a lack of accountability, and the loss of the administrative team over the summer. “A direct line of accountability – that’s my reasoning,” she said.