Frank Mrvan
House of Representatives
District 1

Leslie Nuss
State Senator District 5

Erika Watkins
State Representative District 4

Dan Whitten
County Commissioner South

Dane V. Lafata
County Commissioner North

Kevin D. Breitzke
County Surveyor

Laura Blaney
County Treasurer

Sylvia Graham
County Council at Large

Bob DeRuntz
County Council
at Large

Erik Wagner
County Council at Large

I am a woman, a wife, a mother and have a child with multiple special needs. I have been advocating for the disability community for 15 years and for the past 3 years have focused on what I can accomplish for SELF School in Valparaiso- a public school for students with disabilities servicing all of Porter County.

I want to break this fever of hyper-partisanship that has taken over the Indiana State Senators and Representatives. I want to return levelheadedness and empathetic humanity to politics for all Hoosiers. The State and Local governments are supposed to work for you to make your life better, more secure, and to preserve the health of our air, water and soil for you and all future Hoosiers. But are they?

I stand for Women and their rights. I stand for Public Schools, the students and all who rely on this vital Public Good. I also stand for the Environment, because healthy soil grows healthy food and healthy air and water are our birthright.

We can achieve this as well as a protected work force and a strong economy, but we need to eliminate the supermajority in both the State Senate and House of Representatives to do the will of the people. We need to elect enough Indiana Democrats to flip 15 seats in the Senate and 20 seats in the House.

Many people in District 5 who want the same things-leaders who care about them; who will spend their tax dollars wisely, who will work with the Federal Government and who care about doing the right thing.

District 5 wants the vulnerable to be taken care of. They want children to be happy. They want women to have agency over their bodies. They want leaders to use tax dollars to make Indiana better. They want to keep jobs here and create the conditions for new businesses to grow. They want people to be fed, they want all families to thrive in this great state, and they will elect LESLIE NUSS to be their next State Senator for District 5.

Erika Watkins for State Representative District 4 

I am Erika Robinson-Watkins and often considered an expert in education and early childhood development. I currently work as the COO of Lisa’s Safe Haven Child Care. All locations are accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children and five of those six locations are in partnerships with Head Start and Early Head Start. I am grateful and honored to do the work as the first woman of color to ever be appointed to the Valparaiso Community Schools School Board. My bachelor’s degree is in Early Childhood Education from Morris Brown College, Atlanta GA, and two Masters in Education: one with a focus in Elementary Education from Indiana University Northwest and the other with a focus in Early Childhood Education from Ball State University.

I am a native of East Chicago, who moved to Valparaiso over a decade ago with my husband and two children. Shortly after our move our sweet Jack Russell Terrier, Timber was added to our family. My daughter graduated from Valparaiso High School in 2021 and my son will be a 2024 graduate. Additionally, my greatest joy is found working with children of all ages, and the older seasoned population. I am extremely active in my church community, a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, incorporated for almost twenty-five years in April 2024, and serve on other boards and organizations in various capacities. It is my season and purpose to run as a candidate for House Representative District 4, officially as Erika for Indiana. My greatest desire is to bring a diverse voice of Northern Indiana to the Statehouse and to work with and for hard-working Hoosiers.

Dan Whitten for Commissioner District 1 – South

I am Dan Whitten, and I am running for Porter county Commissioner south district. I would like to begin by taking a moment to talk a little bit about my history. I’ve spent nearly my entire adult life in public service. Through my years as a combat helicopter flight medic in the United States Army and my many years as a police officer, public safety has been paramount to me. In addition, I served four terms on the Porter County Council. During which time I became knowledgeable about County finances, but more importantly, what it means to be a good government official. I grew up in Portage, and am a graduate of Portage High School, Purdue University, and Valparaiso Law School.  With my wife, Stacey, I own law offices in Portage and Merrillville. Namely, Whitten and Whitten, Attorneys At Law. 

I live in Porter Township where I have raised my children who both graduated from Boone Grove High School.  I have lived in the southern district of Porter county for many years.  With commissioner Blaney’s decision not to seek reelection, I felt it was imperative that we maintain a Democrat presence on the Porter county commission. We simply need to have a strong voice for transparent, honest and good leadership in the seat. Our county deserves elected officials who don’t put their own interest above the interest of those who they serve. I will be a voice for those who otherwise would not have a voice. I will strive to improve the quality of life of all people in our county without concern for my own self-interest. Actions speak louder than words as they say.  Candidly, my track record speaks for itself. It clearly shows that I will be a public servant, who serves.  Thank you for your consideration for my candidacy. 

Dane Lafata for Commissioner
District 3 – North

I’m in my third term on the Chesterton Town Council. After eight years of success for Chesterton, I am running for County Commissioner – District 3 – North to spread the achievement county-wide. In Chesterton, the council has worked hard to ensure the town employees are treated honorably, and as a commissioner, I will do the same for the county employees. In a county filled with tremendous assets, including the 4-H fairgrounds and the Memorial Opera House, the employees are Porter County’s greatest asset. They are hard-working, dedicated to their jobs, and improving Porter County daily.        

I live in Chesterton with my wife, Lacey, and our two daughters, Charis and Athena. I have lived in Porter County for most of my life, except for a few years after attending Wabash College. I have a bachelor’s degree with a major in accounting. As an Enrolled Agent at Lafata Tax Service, I meet with nearly 1000 clients yearly to review their tax returns. As they see how much property and income tax they pay, they often wonder where it all goes and frequently express feelings of not being heard by politicians. As your County Commissioner, I will always seek to understand your concerns, needs, and issues. I will treat every resident and visitor with respect and dignity and be a County Commissioner you can be proud of.

Kevin Breitzke for County Surveyor

Kevin D. Breitzke, PE, PLS, CFM   has over forty-five years of civil engineering and land surveying experience and a BSCE (Civil Engineering) degree from Valparaiso University. He is an ASFPM Certified Floodplain Manager and has professional licenses for Engineering (1987) and Land Surveying (1983). Kevin has been Porter County Surveyor since 1997 and served for more than twenty-five years on the following Boards: Kankakee River Basin Commission (former treasurer), Northwestern Indiana Regional Plan Commission (former chairperson), Porter County Plan Commission (president from 2003 through 2007), and Porter County Development Review Committee. Also, he serves on the Kankakee River Basin-Yellow River Basin Development Commission Technical Advisory Committee (current vice chairperson) and the Porter County Stormwater Management Board. Prior to public service, Kevin worked in the private sector doing land surveying in addition to designing commercial and residential developments, wastewater and septic systems, and stormwater management solutions. Kevin developed lifelong relationships with IDEM, DNR, Army Corps of Engineers, NRCS, city and county planning, public works, and health departments as author of hundreds of plan submissions and permit applications. Kevin has been active in several professional and community organizations. He has also actively served on a number of watershed, MS4, environment, and planning related advisory boards throughout Northwest Indiana including the Lake Michigan Coastal Advisory Board.

Kevin is an accomplished leader in regional and county planning, stormwater management, and environmental policy resulting in economic, environmental and personal benefits for Indiana and its citizens. Kevin is committed to improving his life-long home, Porter County, Indiana. 

Laura Blaney for County Treasurer

Laura Shurr Blaney is one of the most experienced candidates running for office this year. Her 6 years on the county’s fiscal body, together with 12 years as a Commissioner have uniquely prepared her for the responsibilities of Porter County Treasurer. As a Commissioner, Blaney was key in the formation of the profitable Porter County Government Foundation. Blaney has been President for 5 of the 8 years of the Foundation’s existence. This role prepared her to handle the investment responsibilities of county Treasurer. Blaney’s leadership has led to tens of millions of dollars of investment into County infrastructure projects with no cost to the taxpayer. This is on top of approximately five million dollars of investment earnings injected annually into Porter County’s general fund offsetting the need for increased taxes. Additionally, Blaney has worked with our legislators to create laws allowing for processes which make the yearly revenue stream steady and predictable. She and her colleagues then developed a spending policy to ensure the foundation principal grows along with inflation for the benefit of future generations.  

Blaney is a lifelong resident of Porter County. She grew up in Valparaiso and currently lives on property near Boone Grove that has been in her family for several generations. Her family has a long history of owning local and successful small businesses in Porter County. This background has led to a deep understanding of the value of excellent customer service; a value Blaney will bring to the Treasurer’s Office.

Blaney has been married to husband, Ken, for 30 years. He and their four children (Maddie, Isabel, Roger, and Claire), along with Laura’s Aunt Jacki, have been the biggest backers of her service to Porter County. Because of them and many others, her years of public service have been possible.

My name is Bob DeRuntz and I am running for the Porter County Council because I think it is essential that we elect leaders in our community who are honest, well qualified, and have a proven track record of working to make a positive difference in people’s lives. That is what I have done for the last 29 years as a teacher, volunteer, union leader and in county government on the Board of Directors for the Porter County Parks and Recreation.

I am a history teacher at Chesterton High School, where I was named the Indiana Outstanding History Teacher of the Year last year by the Daughters of the American Revolution. I will bring the same passion for what I do and work ethic to serve our community on the Porter County Council. I also serve as the co-President and Chairman of Negotiations for the Duneland Teachers Association, where I have worked to increase the starting Duneland teacher’s salary from one of the lowest in the county to one of the highest in the state. Additionally, I am a legislative liaison for the Indiana State Teachers Association, working with our state legislators to advocate for public education and fighting for collective bargaining rights for the Region’s labor unions.

As your Porter County Councilman, I will focus on good policy for the betterment of our entire community. I will work to maintain public safety by providing the County Sheriff’s Department with the resources needed to keep our communities safe. I will prioritize quality roads, safe bridges and stormwater management while keeping a healthy balance between our infrastructure needs and lower taxes. I will ensure that professionalism and expertise guide Board appointments to ensure our county government agencies are well led. I will work to establish a dedicated funding source for our Porter County Parks and Recreation as a social infrastructure investment in our community. I will continue to emphasize competitive pay for our county employees because county government is only as good as the people who run it. 

I have been married for 29 years to Becky (Stanier) DeRuntz who is a teacher at Boone Grove High School. Our daughter Sophie is a junior at Indiana University. As your County Councilman, I will listen and be responsive to help move Porter County forward together, because we are better together. Visit to learn more about my campaign.

Sylvia Graham for County Council
At-Large (Vote for 3)

My name is Sylvia Graham and I am running for reelection to the Porter County Council. I am married to Jack, a retired operating engineer Local 150 and we have lived in Porter County for over 60 years.  I am a retired RN, FNP, and a professional Bass Fisherman.  I won the Women’s Bass Fishing Association’s Championship in 2000.  Presently, I am serving my 4th term on the Porter County Council. Through perseverance and common sense  practices, I have helped lead the council through lean years to present where we have $183 million dollars in our Porter County Foundation that allows use of a small portion of interest earned money to nurture and care for our county without raising county taxes. We have been able to refurbish our county properties and this year, due to our excellent AA+ credit rating, we are bonding to build a much needed County Highway garage.  The Sheriff Jail building will also undergo remodeling.  Presently, I serve on the Recycle & Waste board, the Juvenile Detention Advisory board and have been asked to serve on the Juvenile Detention Alternative Intuitive Board. For the past 15 years, I served on the PCACS board. I am liaison to 15 county departments. I enjoy listening and working for the people, and my work is not done.  I have  the experience, leadership skills, the energy and the time.  I am asking for your continued trust and vote  on Election Day.  Thank you.   ~Sylvia Graham

Susie Talevski for County Council
At-Large (Vote for 3)

Susie is running for the Porter County Council (At-Large) in the Democratic primary. She has been a life-long advocate for various social justice and public interest causes. She believes that local government should always be responsive to the needs of the people. To that end, she will strive to serve the people with full transparency and accountability. Her top priorities as a member of the county council will be the following:

  1. Develop a long-term plan for the Porter County Hospital Foundation to fund community health, wellness, and fitness 2. Promote economic development with an eye towards the new Green Economy and proper maintenance of our infrastructure. 3. Protect our lakeshore and promote tourism to our state, national park and all of Porter County.

Erik Wagner for County Council 
At-Large (Vote for 3)

Dedicated to the betterment of Porter County, I bring nearly two decades of local political involvement to my candidacy for County Council. My journey in public service began as a reporter for WDSO, our local high school radio station, reporting on town meetings. After pursuing higher education at Purdue University, where I was inspired by my American Political Science professor to engage in local governance, I embarked on a path of advocacy and leadership. My commitment to community progress led me to serve as campaign manager for Elka Nelson, successfully helping her to victory. Encouraged by this experience, I entered the political arena myself, securing a decisive win in a contested race—one of the largest margins in the state. For six years, I served diligently on the Porter Town Council, championing initiatives to enhance infrastructure, support small businesses, and uplift non-profits.

In 2022, I was honored to be caucused in to fulfill the remainder of a term on the County Council. During this brief tenure, I spearheaded critical efforts, including the implementation of a new pension plan for the Sheriff’s Department and securing funding for numerous highway projects. Additionally, I prioritized aiding small businesses and nonprofits in their recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and successfully advocated for the first phase of a county-wide employee raise.

Now, as I seek election to the County Council, I am fueled by a steadfast dedication to advancing the interests of Porter County residents. Together, let’s continue building a brighter future for our community.