(La Porte County, IN) - La Porte County Commissioner Joe Haney has officially announced that he’s running to retain his District 3 seat. “Over the past several months, I’ve spoken to several people, had good conversations with my wife as well,” he said. “And the message has really resonated, and I believe there’s a lot more I can do.”
Haney, a Republican, is particularly proud of managing the county employees’ healthcare plan. Through an employee clinic and a pharmacy program that he helped set up, Haney says employees get more care for less cost. The county’s self-funded health insurance has gone from break-even to a $1.3 million surplus, according to Haney. Now he wants to work with members of the County Council to address a looming budget deficit.
Haney noted his involvement in getting an EMS base established in Rolling Prairie and wants La Porte County’s EMS system strengthened as a whole. “Porter County, right next to us, per person, has twice as many ambulances as we do,” he said. “The southern half of the county is covered by one rig and one ambulance.” Now that pay for first responders has been increased, Haney says effectively managing human resources is the next step, so personnel don’t get burned out.
Haney says he also intends to focus on structural problems at the La Porte County Courthouse. He says water ingress from the roof and through the basement is becoming a major issue. “These problems, they don’t get better,” said Haney. “You have to fix them.”
Haney has taken heat for taking a stand against politics as usual. He says he’s ready to continue the fight for a second term. “I’ve found myself in the minority position quite a lot over the past two-and-a-half or so years,” he said. “But I’ve been able to make a lot of good improvements, had a lot of good impact—really open up and kind of expose, for lack of a better word, some of the stuff that’s happening here in La Porte County.”
Haney says that he’s still committed to passing a comprehensive ethics ordinance for county officials—one that is agreed to by majorities of both the County Commissioners and County Council so that only a majority vote by both bodies could repeal or change it. He says there is still a need for regulations and safeguards that keep elected officials on the straight and narrow. “I think that’s all anybody wants, and I don’t understand why there’s been such a push-back to that,” he said. “But there’s no reason why we can’t get that done, and I think we can.”
Haney will be challenged by Democrat Randy Novak, who is currently a county councilman.