(Merrillville, IN) - A high-ranking Republican in the state is critical of the attacks on a local elected official from fellow party members.
"The recent attacks against Rich Mrozinski are totally inappropriate and serve as nothing more than a distraction when our attention should be focused on policies that improve the economy for working men and women across Indiana," said Dave Fagan, Chairman of the Indiana Lunch Pail Republicans.
Fagan is also secretary of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 out of Merrillville.
"Elections should be won and lost based on merits, not on cheap attempts at character assassination," Fagan said.
Lunchpail Republicans is a group pushing to restore the Republican Party to where it was before the rise of what's been labeled as extremism.
Recently, La Porte County Commissioner Rich Mrozinski was removed as an official member of the La Porte County Republican Party. The unanimous decision by over 60 voting precinct committeepersons was believed to be driven by Mrozinski's ongoing support of Shaw Friedman as the attorney for LaPorte County government.
Mrozinski and some of his Republican opponents wanting Friedman replaced have clashed often for nearly two years during public meetings filled with tension and even hatred.
Fagan, currently appointed by Governor Eric Holcomb to the Indiana Ports Commission, said publicly attacking an individual's morals and work ethic to score political points is not in the best interests of taxpayers.
"When appointed or elected as an official, we have an obligation to work with all officials for the betterment of our town, county, and state. Personal attacks for political gain do not serve the public interest. Pointing out policy differences can be fair and appropriate. However, personal attacks only serve a political agenda and do not further the needs or interests of the residents we are sworn to represent," Fagan said.
Fagan is a former member of the Portage City Council whose resume also includes two decades on the Indiana Law Enforcement Training Board. Mitch Daniels and other former Indiana governors appointed him to the board.
Mrozinski, a veteran and retired union worker for NIPSCO, said he was pleasantly surprised. Mrozinski said local party members don't like him because he reaches across party lines. The former La Porte County Councilman has been elected as both a Republican and a Democrat.
"When I get elected, I hang my "R" and my "D" on the door and go to work for the people," Mrozinski said.