Local News

Priorities Differ in State Representative Race

(Michigan City, IN) - The focus seems different among the candidates running for Indiana State Representative out of District 9.  


Pat Boy, a Democrat, is challenged by Republican Dion Bergeron in her bid for a second four-year term.  Boy, 70, was in the final year of her fourth term on the Michigan City Common Council when she decided to run for the seat once held by Scott Pelath who did not seek an 11th two-year term.


She said one of her priorities is making sure politics has nothing to do with the upcoming redrawing of the district boundaries in response to the 2020 census.  Currently, Boy said many of the unusually shaped districts for state office holders contain a disproportionate share of republican voters which might have something to do with the GOP having a supermajority in the house and senate.  “I’m not saying somebody is doing something wrong.  I’m just saying it should be more non-partisan,” she said.


Also high on her campaign platform is safer disposal of coal ash from electric generating stations across the state.  Leaching from coal ash disposed by NIPSCO is blamed for ground water contamination in The Pines, now served by municipal water from Michigan City to alleviate the public health threat.  She also wants to require companies give public notice of any hazardous waste spills and impose fines for failure to do so.


Boy said she also plans to push for an increase in the state’s minimum wage, which remains at $7.25 per hour.  “We have so many people who are living right at the edge of poverty or below the poverty level.  Some of them work two minimum wages jobs and if you have kids it’s that much worse,” she said.


Dion Bergeron, 46, of Trail Creek is a former over the road truck driver and worked at Indiana State Prison prior to becoming a real estate agent.


His top priorities include affordable health care.  Bergeron said one way of attacking the problem is the state helping more elderly residents pay their monthly premiums for Medicare.


“Medicare premiums are often the difference between a person being able to afford groceries and having to live at the food bank,” he said.


Bergeron said he also wants to make sure everything is being done to help existing businesses grow and bring in new companies.  “We see all of these jobs going all over the state. Nothing comes here,” he said.  Maintaining an equal presence throughout the district is also high on his to do list.


Bergeron said people from places like Chesterton, Westville and Wanatah feel like their voices are not being heard since the focus of the current office holder seems to be more on Michigan City.  “They just don’t feel represented,” he said.

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