Strauss to run against Morris, Chroback
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Independent candidate for mayor of La Porte says he has a 'strong chance' to get elected
LA PORTE -- A maverick candidate is entering the La Porte mayoral race, and he thinks his chance of winning is as good as opponents Mayor Leigh Morris and former Mayor Kathy Chroback.
Asked if he can win in November, Mike Strauss, 25, said he has “a strong chance.”
Strauss, who made a name for himself last year when he pushed for the La Porte City Council to pass an ordinance targeting illegal immigrants, said he plans to file for mayor as an independent.
Strauss, owner of a computer business called w3Network in Merrillville, said Friday that he has obtained the necessary number of signatures to run for the office.
Strauss, who earlier this spring considered dropping out of the race due to health concerns, said Friday those issues “have been taken care of,” but refused to elaborate.
He didn’t hesitate, however, to share his views on Chroback and Morris.
“She didn’t do anything all bad, but she didn’t do anything good,” Strauss, a former Libertarian, said of Chroback. “She was a sit-back mayor who went along for the ride.”
Conversely, he said, Morris has been overly aggressive during his tenure.
“He’s overspent and he acts like a dictator in front of La Porte City Council and his constituents. I don’t think he’s fit to be running city government. He proved that when he was president of La Porte Hospital.”
If he were given the reins to the city, Strauss said he wouldn’t rule with an iron fist, even if it meant local immigration reforms he supports don’t pass.
“I believe there needs to be reform, but if the constituents don’t want it that’s the way it’s got to be,” he said. “As an elected official I have to listen to their wishes and not my own. You have to listen or they will leave (town).”
Strauss supports fining landlords who knowingly rent to illegal immigrants and businesses that knowingly hire them, as well as training La Porte City Police officers to enforce immigration laws.
And what do people think of Strauss?
“I’ve gotten a lot of support in the community, more than I thought I would have. People like what I have to say. They say there’s a need for change,” he said.
Though he knows he doesn’t have the big bucks that Democrats and Republicans will have to fund their respective mayoral campaigns, Strauss thinks he can still be effective utilizing his campaign Web site, blogging and going door-to-door.
Strauss said he wouldn’t accept campaign contributions from businesses and organizations, only individuals.