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Dems take 3 seats on Porter County Council

Porter County Council cadidate Bob Poparad right checks vote returns with Scott McClure during an electinight gathering Valparaiso Tuesday Nov.

Porter County Council cadidate Bob Poparad, right, checks vote returns with Scott McClure during an election night gathering in Valparaiso Tuesday Nov. 6, 2012. | Andy Lavalley~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: December 8, 2012 6:22AM



VALPARAISO — Voters appeared to stick with what they knew for the Porter County Council, as the three winners of the at-large race are all Democrat incumbents or past members of the council.

With about 90 percent of the precincts reporting, the top vote getters were Sylvia Graham, who sought her second term on the council; Dan Whitten, the council’s president, who ran for his third term; and Bob Poparad, who previously served two terms representing District 1.

The candidates pledged to protect the principal from the sale of the former county hospital, and to work with the Board of Commissioners to tackle the issues facing the county, such as opening the third pod at the county jail and increasing medical staff there.

“I will have no learning curve,” joked Poparad, 54, a Burns Harbor resident and longtime small business owner who also served three terms on the Burns Harbor Town Council.

He thanked voters for supporting him and said he would make the county a better place to live and to work.

Graham, a retired registered nurse from Center Township, said she was grateful that the people of Porter County had enough confidence to elect her for another term.

And while her time on the council has sometimes been contentious, particularly in recent weeks with the passage of the 2013 budget, she hopes for better days ahead.

“The new council will work together well,” she said. “You know why? Because we owe it to the people of Porter County.”

The new council also will be seeking a new president; Whitten has said he would not remain the council’s president if he were reelected. Whitten, 46, of Porter Township, is a bankruptcy attorney and former Lake Station police officer and councilman.

Voters were tasked with selecting three of six candidates for open at-large seats on the Porter County Council.

Republican candidates were Mark Hoffman , 62, of Valparaiso, former athletic director and football coach at Valparaiso High School; Ralph Neff, 53, of Valparaiso, owner of a commercial heating, air-conditioning and plumbing business; and Joe Wszolek, 58, of Portage, a real estate appraiser and president of the Porter County’s Property Tax Assessment Board of Appeals.



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