Commissioner Andy Kostielney not seeking re-election in 2022

Published: Nov. 3, 2021 at 11:29 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - He spent over a decade in local politics, but now St. Joseph County Commissioner Andy Kostielney said he is stepping away.

At a press conference Wednesday, he announced he will not be running for re-election in 2022.

“The toughest decision I’ve ever made, but it’s in my best interest health wise...I’ve been agonizing over this for a few months, but this really started two years ago when I was diagnosed with prostate cancer; very aggressive, very nasty and by the Grace of God I have been able to get through. My health is good, but it’s not as good as it could and as good as it should be,” Kostielney said.

“I’m very happy for him and his family. When you get in this political arena, it’s a tough business,” said St. Joseph County Commissioner Derek Dieter.

Kostielney was running against Democratic candidate Jason Critchlow.

Earlier this week, Kostielney received some criticism for proposing redistricting changes that would move Critchlow from the first to the second district.

In a statement, Critchlow said in part, “The announcement comes suddenly...The announcement also comes at a time when Commissioner Kostielney has faced intense criticism for leading a redistricting effort...But, I think any public servant should be acknowledged and thanked for their service.”

“And through my career I’d like to think I haven’t been afraid of a fight, not afraid to do that I thought was right, no matter if I was the only person saying what I thought was right. I’d mixed it up with the opposing party and with my own party sometimes. But I always did what I thought was best for the citizens of St. Joseph County,” Kostielney said.

“He’s been a great leader. I’ve learned a lot from him and I am still learning a lot from him,” said Dieter.

Kostielney said he will finish out his term.

By that time he will have served as commissioner for 14 years.

“And in that time, politics is just different. It’s messier. It’s meaner than it used to be,” Kostielney said.

Kostielney also served on the county council.

He said he is excited to spend more time with his grandchildren.

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