Leadership Life: Laura Shurr Blaney, Porter County Commissioner

Leadership Life: Laura Shurr Blaney, Porter County Commissioner
By: Stacey Kellogg Last Updated: March 26, 2020

Laura Shurr Blaney entered politics a bit by accident. A biology and chemistry teacher by trade, she was inspired to get more involved with local government after navigating a challenging issue with the property around her home. After serving on the Porter County Council through a caucus appointment for six years, she is now serving a two-year term as a Porter County Commissioner. Blaney is well-known and respected for her sensible approach to leadership and serving her constituents. In this series, she reveals why she is successful in working across party lines, and the importance of connecting with constituents as a county leader. She is a self-described amateur birder, mother of four, and sports jock, who is a strong believer in the arts and the importance of connecting with each other on multiple levels to build strong communities.

Leadership Life | Laura Shurr Blaney | A moderating influence in local politics

Laura Shurr Blaney, by nature of being a teacher, developed a strong ability to see problems and solutions from different angles, and it has been integral in how she serves constituents in Porter County. Her ability to be a moderating influence in local politics helps, too.

Leadership Life | Laura Shurr Blaney | Getting involved in local government

When Laura Shurr Blaney and her husband were building their forever home in Porter County, right before move-in day, they learned that a local landfill was being planned right near their property. In their quest to keep that from happening, Blaney realized she needed to know more about how local government works, which was her entry into local politics. Today, she works to also inspire the younger generation to get involved and encourages everyone to pay close attention to local politics.

Leadership Life | Laura Shurr Blaney | Supporting the arts in Porter County

Laura Shurr Blaney is a firm believer that the arts help a community thrive, and one of her first projects as a county commissioner was to help the Memorial Opera House reach its full potential. Here, she shares some great stories about the successful turnaround of this historic theater, and the dedication of the staff and actors, including the actors in the children’s theater program.

Leadership Life | Laura Shurr Blaney | The common denominator in cooperation

A great project can bring people together, and Laura Shurr Blaney credits her colleagues and their bipartisan efforts to pull projects along for the benefit of the community. The animal shelter, Memorial Opera House, the Porter County Expo Center, the North County Complex and accessory building, stormwater systems, the Willowcreek Extension – all of these projects and others have moved forward under the leadership of Blaney and her colleagues.

Leadership Life | Laura Shurr Blaney | Reinventing government

An entity with more than 600 employees needs a stable structure, which was a top priority for Laura Shurr Blaney and her colleagues when they came together to lead the county as Porter County Commissioners. An established HR department, creating a one-stop-shop for constituents, creating an efficient facilities department, and improving their online presence are just some improvements that have been made so far.

Leadership Life | Laura Shurr Blaney | Connecting with people

Laura Shurr Blaney takes serving the people seriously and has worked with her fellow Porter County Commissioners to improve their communication with constituents. From a dedicated social media presence to creating an online space for public meetings, they remain dedicated to continuing to use all the tools available to serve their communities.