former mayor running for commissioner

Friday, October 20, 2017 14:09 PM
Written by Stan Maddux
Category: Local News

A former mayor of Michigan City is back home and returning to the campaign trail.

Sheila Brillson is running for the seat now held by LaPorte County Commissioner Mike Gonder.

Brillson said she wants to help LaPorte County bring in major economic opportunities now within reach and meet public health and education challenges she believes need immediate attention.

''Our county needs strong leadership at this critical time and I have the experience, leadership skills and vision to help move LaPorte County forward,'' she said.

In 2003, Brillson was six months from completing her second term as mayor when she and her family moved to the state of Washington.

She returned two-years ago and with an itch to get back into public service chose, surprising to some of her supporters, not to run for mayor.

''I did that job. I loved, loved that job. But, you know, been there done that. There are no do overs in life so I'm ready to take on new challenges,'' said Brillson, who spent eight-years on the city council prior to becoming mayor.

She said the proposed double track to reduce travel times to and from Chicago on the South Shore commuter line are among the projects in the works that can have major economic benefits and feels her experience and skills can help make them reality.

Brillson, a democrat, cited her successes in job creation as mayor and leadership roles in workforce development and employment programs in Washington as among her qualifications.

''We need new jobs. We can't wait for manufacturing to come back and we need to step up and see where we can fit,'' Brillson said.

Brillson also said she wants to bring the entire county together so that future growth doesn't happen too quickly to avoid damaging the heritage and farmland here in the process.

Presently, the former public school teacher and grandmother of four is national director of programs for Summer Advantage USA, a non-profit organization providing summer learning programs to school children in underserved neighborhoods across the U.S.

With her six children now grown, Brillson said she came back to be close to her family and the community.

''This is my home. This is where I belong,'' she said.

Gonder, a republican, was chosen to fill the seat of Mike Bohacek after his election in 2016 to the state senate.

There are less than 15 months left on the term.