The New Year opened with a historic day for the city of Portage as James Snyder officially became the new mayor. Snyder and the other elected city officials were sworn in to office by Judge Julia Jent in front of hundreds of Portage residents in the PHS East Auditorium.
State Representative Chuck Moseley and Porter County Assessor Jon Snyder, the brother of James, served as the Masters of Ceremony. James Hazzard led the Pledge of Allegiance, while the First Lady of Portage, Deborah Snyder, sang the National Anthem. Pastor Michael Poole handled the invocation.
Mark Oprisko, Sue Lynch, Pat Clem, Ted Uzelac, John Cannon, Liz Modesto, Matt Scheuer and Chris Stidham were all sworn in to office as well. Clerk-Treasurer Stidham presented his thoughts and stressed the fact that the government will need to work together for the good of the city, regardless of political allegiances.
“The big elephant in the room is that we have a divided government now. I don’t think that’s anything to run away from or to not admit. We have to look at how we are going to move forward and how we are going to work to the best of our abilities for the city of Portage,” Stidham said.
Snyder also addressed the packed audience. He was introduced by his brother Jon, who shared a few stories from their childhood. Mayor Snyder was quick to thank his supporters, family members and friends, all of whom have helped him reach this point. He also had some endearing words directed toward the city of Portage as a whole.
“Portage citizens participated in the election and cared like never before. I have always been proud to call Portage home. Today, I am honored to be your humble servant.”
A banner hung behind the stage displayed the words “Excellence and Efficiency.” Those words will hold an important meaning for the city’s government over the next four years.
“When you see the words efficiency and excellence, they represent balance. Without one, you cannot have the other. Imagine a row boat, with one oar representing efficiency and the other excellence. You must give them the same balance and strength to move forward,” Snyder explained.
Near the conclusion of the ceremony, Snyder led the swearing in of the City Department Heads. Everyone being sworn in to a new position recited the Oath of Office, pledging to do his or her best in serving the people of Portage while obeying the Constitution and the laws of the United States.
One theme throughout the ceremony was the idea that Portage is one united city. All of the city officials, regardless of whether they are newly-elected or returning and regardless of whether they are Democrats or Republicans, hope to work together to do good things for Portage and help continue to make it a great community during their time in office.