Two women are running for an open seat for Porter County Commissioners

Two women, both emphasizing their management and business experience, are vying for the Porter County, District 2 commissioner seat, now held by Jeff Good.

Good, a Republican who served two terms, announced last year that he would not run again. The District 2 seat represents the central part of the county, but all voters in the county will decide.

The outcome will also decide which side will have the advantage in the Porter County Commissioner’s office. Current District One (South) Commissioner Laura Blaney is a Democrat while District Three

Barb Regnitz Julie Giorgi

The (Northern) Commissioner, Jim Biggs, is a Republican.

Barb Regnitz, 69, who is running for political office for the first time, defeated Mike Brickner in the May primary to be the Republican nominee.

Julie Giorgi, 56, is the Democratic Party’s candidate for the job. She served four terms on the Union Township Board of Education, completing 16 years of service this year.

Barb Regnitz

Regnitz said she will bring her extensive professional experience and involvement in the Valparaiso community to the position of commissioner.

“I have such a commitment to serving the community and this is a perfect opportunity to apply all of my skills and experience to better the lives of everyone in Porter County,” Regnitz said. “I have tremendous energy and passion and really care about people and their hopes and dreams.”

Regnitz was a teacher, spent 16 years in the information technology industry as a software engineer and implementation manager, and for 16 years was a financial planner. She said her experience in financial management is particularly important right now.

“With the high cost of living being a priority for voters right now, we as elected officials need to be particularly careful with tax revenues. We need to make sure they are assigned to the highest priority essential services under county jurisdiction,” Regnitz said.

Regnitz said she also thinks it’s important for the county commissioners’ office to be “transparent” in how it conducts its business.

“If people feel left out, they imagine the worst,” Regnitz said at a recent candidates’ forum hosted by the Duneland Chamber of Commerce.

In the interest of involving citizens more, Regnitz said she believes at least some of the commissioners’ meetings should take place in the evening.

Regnitz said the commissioners should also consider forming a public safety commission to address these issues because they are at the forefront of the public’s mind.

In addition to her work experience, Regnitz noted that she is a civic member of the Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce and active in the Rotary Club of Valparaiso. She recently joined the Boy Scouts of America board of directors, LaSalle Council, and has also volunteered for the Northwest Indiana SCORE Chapter, the Shirley Heinze Trust, Opportunity Enterprises, and the Porter County Community Foundation.

Julie Giorgi

Giorgi thinks his 16 years of experience with the Union Township School Board will be applicable to the position of county commissioner.

After graduating from college, Giorgi worked for several different pharmaceutical companies. When his children were born, Giorgi decided to pursue a master’s degree in education at the Calumet campus of Purdue University.

Giorgi stayed home to raise her children, but entered the field of education through her first successful campaign in 2006 for the Union Township Board of Education.

“I’ve always been passionate about public education and saw school counseling as a way to stay involved in their education and be an advocate for public education at the same time,” Giorgi said.

As a member of the school board, Giorgi notes that she is responsible for approving all personnel decisions as well as making decisions regarding building construction and maintenance.

County commissioners have similar decisions to make because they are responsible for maintaining all county-owned buildings, as well as 800 miles of county-owned roads and more than 130 bridges, Giorgi said.

“Attracting and retaining quality employees is one of the keys to the success of Union Township School Corporation and will remain a major focus in my new role as Commissioner,” said Giorgi.

Since declaring her candidacy in February, Giorgi said she has spent hundreds of hours learning about Porter County, attending commissioners’ meetings and listening to citizens.

“We live in a great county with low taxes and so many unique quality of life offerings, but thoughtful leadership is needed to keep our tax rates low while meeting county needs,” Giorgi said.

“Seeking responsible ways to improve county-owned properties and infrastructure and to maintain fair compensation for county employees are some of the important issues facing Porter County commissioners in the years to come,” said Giorgi said.

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