Lake County party leaders rally Democrats
By Michelle L. Quinn Post-Tribune correspondent May 2, 2012 9:48PM
Sen. Earline Rogers, D-Gary
Updated: June 4, 2012 11:47AM
MERRILLVILLE — With another extremely low turnout at the polls expected next Tuesday, Lake County’s Democrats are going to have to come out in full force, the party’s leadership declared Monday.
Statehouse incumbents Earline Rogers, Linda Lawson, Lonnie Randolph and Mara Candelaria Reardon discussed several topics concerning this year’s legislative session during the Lake County Circle’s quarterly reception at the Patio Restaurant on Wednesday evening. All four agreed, however, that the past two years have been anything but productive or good for Hoosiers and terrible for Northwest Indiana in particular.
“I can’t even begin to tell you how bad it is,” Lawson said. “Every discussion is about religion or morality, and they talk about government being involved in everything, yet they want to insert themselves into everything.
“It is a toxic cesspool.”
Especially unfair was how Cline Avenue was resolved. While Randolph said the Northwest Indiana contingent did the best it could — an Ohio company will rebuild Cline as a toll road — he still doesn’t understand how Gov. Mitch Daniels couldn’t come up with $200 million when the Interstate 69 corridor — a road bitterly opposed by Bloomington and others — has hit the $1 billion mark.
Furthermore, Randolph questioned giving huge Major Moves money to I-69 and the Illiana Expressway after giving $20 million toward the Gary/Chicago International Airport. Since Cline Avenue connects Chicago to the airport, it seems hypocritical to say there’s support when Daniels won’t allow the major thoroughfare to be reconstructed without a toll.
The answer to that, according to the other three, is that Daniels never forgave Lake County for not giving him the re-election numbers he wanted after he tried courting it in his first term. Rogers said she had run into him once and he said as much.
“I think it was his eye on the presidency that made him change (his goals),” Rogers said. “I’ve always said you can’t run one office well while thinking about another.”
The four also wholeheartedly support Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Gregg and asked attendees to support all party-endorsed candidates.
“This is a critical time for us. We can’t compete if we’re not present,” Candelaria Reardon said.
Lawson also said that while she’ll continue to write legislation, she feels her job has to be more about standing up for her constituents because no one else seems to be. And she warned that GOP gubernatorial candidate Mike Pence won’t be any different.
“Mike Pence makes Rick Santorum look like a liberal. Believe it,” she said.