HIGHLAND — Three-term Lake County Councilman Dan Dernulc, R-Highland, confirmed this week he is forgoing a potential fourth term in county government and instead running next year for a seat in the Indiana Senate.
Dernulc, who also serves as chairman of the Lake County Republican Party, said if he wins a ticket to Indianapolis his priorities will include maintaining Indiana's enviable financial condition and using his experience in local government to shape and improve state policies.
"In every elected position I have been entrusted with, it's been my goal to stand up for fiscal responsibility. I'm proud of what has been accomplished during my time on the Lake County Council to put our county on a good financial foundation and make strides for Lake County to be solvent," Dernulc said.
"Now, I'm excited by the opportunity to represent our communities in Indianapolis and bring a local government perspective to the state Senate."
Dernulc is competing in the new Indiana Senate District 1 that includes Dyer, Griffith, Highland, St. John, Schererville, and southwestern Merrillville.
It's a rare open seat race because the incumbent, state Sen. Frank Mrvan, D-Hammond, is expected to retire after the 2022 legislative session because he no longer lives in the district following the once-a-decade redrawing of legislative boundaries completed in October by the Republican-controlled General Assembly.
Dernulc said he expects plenty of potential candidates to take a look at the race and maybe even get on the ballot during the filing period that runs from Jan. 5 to Feb. 4.
That's likely to include fellow Lake County Councilman Christian Jorgensen, R-St. John, who has made no secret of his interest in serving at the Statehouse.
Dernulc is confident, however, he's the best choice to represent the new district, and the interests of the Region generally, in a chamber where Republicans hold 39 of the 50 seats.
"I'm willing to work with people from wherever if there's a need for the state to pass some bills into law," he said.
Several Republican lawmakers representing Lake and Porter counties at the Statehouse agree Dernulc is well-qualified to join the Region's GOP legislative delegation.
Dernulc's nascent campaign already has been endorsed by state Sens. Ed Charbonneau, R-Valparaiso, and Rick Niemeyer, R-Lowell; as well as state Reps. Mike Aylesworth, R-Hebron, Julie Olthoff, R-Crown Point, and Hal Slager, R-Schererville.
"I am honored to have their support as I seek to join them in representing Lake County's interests in the Indiana Legislature," Dernulc said.
Dernulc first will have to prevail at the May 3 Republican primary election to advance to the Nov. 8 general election that will decide the new state senator.