#1StudentNWI: A Q&A session with Porter County Council member Andy Bozak

#1StudentNWI: A Q&A session with Porter County Council member Andy Bozak

Andy Bozak has served on the Porter County Council since being elected in the November 2020 election. Bozak also previously served on the Porter County Council from 2017 to 2018, and the Burns Harbor Indiana Town Council in 2016.

What did you enjoy about serving on the Burns Harbor Town Council? 

“I really enjoyed the immediate impact your decisions can have on your community. For example, we were able to invest $100,000 into our local park and get a brand-new ADA complaint playground for the children,” said Bozak.

What do you enjoy about being a member of the Porter County Council?

“What I enjoy most about being on the Porter County Council is the people! I love dealing with people, meeting new people, and helping them out by working to solve their issues. It is a very rewarding thing to be part of. As a council member I spend a lot of my time listening to issues and helping to address them. I have always said that communication is key, whether that is communicating with the residents of the county or internally with the different county departments and other local government units.”

Is there anything that you don’t enjoy about being on the county council? 

“Being a public servant is amazing but can also have its struggles. One of the hardest things to deal with as a council person can be the people that bring you an issue but have no interest in hearing your side of the situation. Listening and hearing people out is very important but what is equally as important is communicating back with those same people. From time to time, you will run into someone that issues a complaint to us as council members but refuses to hear the other side of the story. That can be very difficult to deal with at times.”

What are the Porter County Council members responsible for?

“The county council is tasked with overseeing and approving the budgets of all the county departments. The council is the financial arm of county government and as such, we are the check and balance for all county expenditures.” 

What are the requirements someone must meet to be on the Porter County Council?

“You have to be over 18, and a resident of the county. If you are running 'at large' as I did, you can live anywhere in the county. If you are running for the council seat for districts one, two, three, or four, you need to live in that district. The council has three at large seats and four district seats, so there are a total of seven council members.”

“The three at large seats were up for election in 2020, and the four district seats will be up for election in 2022. This way there is not a complete turnover of all new council members at the same time.”

How does the council work in a bipartisan manner? 

“My secret to working in a bipartisan manner is to just be who I am normally; I don’t pretend to be someone I am not. In order to work with anyone (no matter what party), you need to be a good listener. You need to hear them out and put yourself in their shoes so you can understand their point of view. Even if you do not agree with their view, if you understand where they are coming from, you can work together to come up with a solution that works for everyone involved. A lot of times when it comes to “local” politics, you will find that both parties are working for the same end goal.”

What are you most proud of accomplishing so far as a member of the Porter County Council? 

“I recently completed my second month in office. So, it’s a little early to say what I would be most proud of so far in my service. However, I will say my family and I were very happy to win this election. When I ran in 2018, there were over 18,000 votes cast in my election and I ended up losing by 15 votes. I knew at that time that I wanted to get back involved on the county council and am very excited to get back to work.” 

“The last time I served on the council, I was most proud of all the investments we were able to make into the county and into the county infrastructure. For example, we were able to remodel and rehab the courthouse, do a major transformation of the Porter County Expo Center at the county fairgrounds, purchase the old jail to provide more room for our departments, and renovate and add on to the county expansion building in Portage. These were very costly investments but very important to our future. All these projects went very well, and we are in a much better spot than we were four years ago.”

Bozak also noted that he would like to “thank the people of Porter County for showing their trust in me by electing me to this office. If you have any questions for me, you can always email me at abozak@porterco.org.”