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Watch the 2023 Valparaiso Mayoral Debate

Valparaiso Mayoral Candidates Hannah Trueblood (D) and Jon Costas (R) debated on Monday, October 9, 2023 at the Valparaiso Memorial Opera House. Lakeshore Public Media's Tom Maloney moderated the debate, which was sponsored in partnership by the League of Women Voters of Porter County and the Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce.

Hannah Trueblood for Valparaiso Mayor
Some of you know me from my volunteer work on Democratic campaigns knocking on doors, creating candidate flyers, and staffing events. Or you may know me from my activism and fundraising around domestic violence, homelessness, accessibility, mental health, addiction, and civil rights. Now, after over a decade of advocacy, political involvement, and community service, I am running for Mayor of Valparaiso. I am a successful small business owner in Valparaiso, as a realtor whose clientele includes people of all ages, genders, and political persuasions. My knowledge of the local market and commitment to my clients has earned me a reputation as an expert negotiator who is compassionate, understanding, and above all else ethical. I am running to end the closed door corruption that has excluded all but a small group of insiders; to bring a fresh, forward thinking perspective to the city - with initiatives focused on renewable resources, capitalizing on green spaces, ensuring safe roads and sidewalks in all of Valpo’s neighborhoods, and opening city hall to diverse voices. I am the next generation of leaders and the Future of Valparaiso. 


Ellen Kapitan for Valparaiso City Council At-Large
My passions in the community center around environmental stewardship, historic preservation, pedestrian safety, transparent and accessible government, and equitable opportunities. I serve on the Porter County Museum Foundation Board, I am president of the Central Neighborhood Association, I am a fourth year president for South Shore Roller Derby. I currently work in administration for the Recycling and Waste Reduction District of Porter County. I have also served one year as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for Children (CASA) with the Family & Youth Services Bureau. I believe in good government. Good government is engagement, asking questions, listening to concerns, understanding the people you represent, and responding to constituents. It is being transparent, and forward thinking. Good government is a culture of accepting public comment. Good government is boldly improving life for all by investing in and nourishing our community. My candidacy is an opportunity to show the community what diverse backgrounds and perspectives bring to city leadership- to get away from a future based on limited perspective, limited demographics, and personal interest. This is an opportunity to recognize and engage the voices of all residents in local government and make changes that benefit our entire community. Join me and be part of a Valparaiso that will boldly embrace our future while remaining a steward to the qualities and traditions of our city that make this community unique. Every voice is powerful, you just have to use it.


Emilie Hunt for Valparaiso City Council At-Large
When deciding where to plant my roots, I knew Valparaiso was home. This community embodies the values most important to me and my family: safety, schools, and stable taxes. Over the last decade I have become increasingly involved in school safety and the welfare of our children – all of our children. I have worked directly with local elementary schools to advocate for best practices in lock down procedures, our alert system, and community education. I have coordinated my efforts with local law enforcement, giving presentations throughout Northwest Indiana focused on safe firearm storage and keeping guns out of our children’s hands. I believe in transparency and policies that will benefit our community – all of our community. I believe our growing city should accommodate its residents and not price them out. I support stable taxes, informed decisions, and a council that represents Valpo first. I am a member of the Boys and Girls Club PALS Board. I am an elder law attorney with Hodges and Davis, P.C. and has served multiple times as Judge Pro Tempore for the Lake County Superior Court. As a council member, I will advocate for Valparaiso – and all of Valparaiso.


Diana Reed for Valparaiso City Council District 1
I am running for reelection for a third term as the City Council representative for District 1 to ensure that all voices continue to be heard. Being a representative of the public is an incredible responsibility and one not taken lightly. District 1 is very unique in its overall makeup and large number of zoning classifications. I continue to work towards solutions in addressing infrastructure needs for older neighborhoods as well as our newer developments. Through my career as an educator and union leader, I have continuously spoken out against legislation attacking our public schools. Conversations with those who have a different mindset are never easy, but very necessary. Change doesn’t happen by chance and it’s important to find common ground in order to work towards a resolution or solution. This is what guides me as I promote and represent the people of Valparaiso. While there have been many accomplishments made, I have enjoyed my involvement and participation in the development of Valparaiso’s: Anti Discrimination Policy, School Board Vetting Procedures, Nuisance Ordinance, Mayor’s Youth Council, council district maps, and ARPA plan with a distribution of dollars going to many of our nonprofits that serve our community in a variety of ways. Through this campaign, I am renewing my commitment for balanced leadership as I continue to advocate for and represent the people of this community as we advance, grow, and strengthen Valparaiso in being a community for all individuals from every walk of life.


Bob Cotton for Valparaiso City Council District 2
Keeping the Promise of Valparaiso alive and well! What does this mean? Regardless of race, creed, color, sexual preference, age, income, or political persuasion, the Valpo Promise is all about access to excellent schools, safe streets, and a generally wholesome environment to raise one's family. These are essential building blocks upon which a better life can be achieved by all. Those who seek and live by the core principles of community, including service, stewardship, civic engagement and access to community networks, are essential contributing factors for residents who expect vibrant governance. These very qualities define Valpo as a place where imagination, hard work, innovation, faith, and safeguarding one's freedom to pursue their dreams is possible. I am running for re-election to the 2nd district councilmanic seat. As you may already know of my unwavering stand on transparency and accountability, "Every Voice Counts" is more than a slogan. I listen when you share your concerns and opinions. I assure you everyone's voice is represented and accounted for at such a pivotal point in time for Valpo. Many have expressed concerns about top-down plans to grow the city under the guise of there being a popular mandate to transform Valpo. Well, that mandate simply doesn't exist. It's not what I'm hearing from a substantial cross-section of residents. I believe the majority of us do not want the Valpo we all know and love to be transformed into a place more resembling cities the likes of Fishers, Carmel or Naperville. I am most grateful for being recognized across-the-city as the "go-to" city leader for issues of importance to you as well as for transparent and accountable governance. I will strive to assure that, for all the generations to come, the promise afforded my family remains intact.


Barbara Domer for Valparaiso City Council District 3
I have resided in Valparaiso for 32 years and raised two sons in this city. I am an accountant by profession and previously worked at an area school corporation, the experience of which gave me exposure to governmental funding, budgets and spending. I was introduced to Valparaiso city government with my calls for reforms to redistricting legislative maps, along with a grassroots movement to restore safe roads in my neighborhood. What I discovered is a mayor and majority city council who lack transparency while promoting an agenda which does not serve the current residents of this city. Inspired by new leadership at the Valparaiso Democratic Committee, I decided to run for city council. Why am I running for Council District 3? I want to participate in making this great city a safer, more affordable and inclusive community. I believe this can be achieved from city leadership who more accurately represent the fabric of our entire community. It is apparent from what I hear and what I see, the current residents are concerned the city is no longer staying true to its roots. I am concerned the current mayor and majority city council are determined to transform this city into a place that will no longer be affordable and welcoming to people. I hope the voters in District 3 will give me an opportunity to represent them.


Lance Raphael for Valparaiso City Council District 4
I chose to move to Indiana 4-5 years ago after retiring from a life of a consumer rights, class action, trial lawyer. My wife and I wanted to be closer to her family home, here in Porter County. We fell in love with the downtown and school system.

While I love Valpo, I see some things we can strengthen. With three school aged kids and being a responsible gun owner, I wanna see kids being educated on gun safety.  As a Jewish man, I see a need for greater diversity and inclusiveness. With programs that educate on issues facing our country right now, we can become become a closer knit community.


Carmen C. Collins for Valparaiso City Council District 5