Recent editorials published in Indiana newspapers
The (Fort Wayne) Journal Gazette. Nov. 3, 2019
The final word on local races
At their best, election seasons stir community debate and soul-searching. The current one has done just that. Now it’s time to acknowledge the municipal candidates’ commitment and willingness to serve. Cast your ballot to make a difference.
The Journal Gazette editorial board offers these recommendations, based on past reporting, interviews and reviews of the candidates’ professional and political experience. Incumbent Fort Wayne City Council member Russ Jehl, R-2nd, is unopposed, as is Democrat Sharon Tucker, a member of Allen County Council seeking the open District 6 City Council seat.
Mayor of Fort Wayne
?Thomas C. Henry, Democrat
Tim Smith, Republican
That Fort Wayne is becoming a more attractive place to live and work is beyond debate. New buildings and a sensational new park are converting a traditional downtown into a Midwest jewel; our beautiful neighborhoods are beginning to get the attention they deserve; and those seeking recreation, entertainment or enrichment have more opportunities than ever. Henry is not the only visionary behind Fort Wayne’s remarkable transformation, but he has led the effort for the past 12 years.
Mayor of New Haven
?Steve McMichael, Republican
Darren Peterson, Democrat
McMichael is uniquely qualified from the start, with skills and experience to build on the improvements in economic development, infrastructure and quality of life his predecessor championed for the past 20 years.
Fort Wayne city clerk
?Lana R. Keesling, Republican
Katie Zuber, Democrat
Keesling has fulfilled her largely administrative duties in a professional manner and delivered on all promises to improve operations.
Fort Wayne City Council at large
(vote for three)
?Michelle Chambers, Democrat
Chambers has well-thought-out goals for the council, identifying the upcoming comprehensive plan, homelessness and mental health initiatives as areas that need attention.
?Thomas Freistroffer, Republican
Freistroffer has proven to be a thoughtful and valuable member in his first term. As council representative to the plan commission, he’s demonstrated a commitment to listening to and working with the residents most affected by planning and zoning issues.
?Glynn Hines, Democrat
While he ultimately joined the unanimous council vote to award trash and recycling collection contracts to Red River Waste Solutions, Hines was the only council member to question how the company could provide the service at the low bid submitted.
Michael Barranda, Republican
Steve Corona, Democrat
Nathan Hartman, Repubican
City Council, District 1
Paul Ensley, Republican
?Misti Meehan, Democrat
Meehan would be a council member who stands up for her district but also takes the larger view.
City Council District 3
?Thomas F. Didier, Republican
John J. Henry, Democrat
Didier’s people skills make him ideal for building consensus on thorny issues. Last year, he was part of a mayor’s task force that eased Fort Wayne’s garbage-collection crisis by suggesting new routes for Red River’s trucks.
City Council District 4
Jason Arp, Republican
?Patti Hays, Democrat
Hays would be a councilwoman who would concentrate on what’s best for the Fourth District and Fort Wayne instead of what fits preconceived positions.
City Council District 5
?Geoff Paddock, Democrat
Taylor Vanover, Republican
No City Council district has seen as much activity and improvement in recent years as Fort Wayne’s Fifth District, represented by Geoff Paddock. Its voters can be proud of the role their council representative has played in advocating for the district’s older, established neighborhoods.
The (Anderson) Herald Bulletin. Nov. 2, 2019
Stevens has vision for Alexandria
In comparing the strengths of Alexandria’s mayoral candidates, Democratic candidate Penny Stevens comes out ahead.
Stevens and her Republican opponent, Todd Naselroad, have a shared a commitment to doing their best for the city of Alexandria as they vie to replace Democratic incumbent Ron Richardson, who opted not to pursue another term.
Both candidates’ clean and civil campaigns, free of mudslinging, brought a breath of fresh air to this election year.
Naselroad and Stevens share a desire to revitalize the downtown area.
Naselroad is focused on seeking solutions to blighted property and strengthening the police and fire departments.
Stevens, who is the business development coordinator for Essential Senior Health and Living and has a background in marketing, expresses a desire to bring new businesses downtown and temper growth with maintaining a small-town atmosphere.
Naselroad, who works for Alexandria’s water department, brings experience on the practical side of the inner workings of the city, while having no political experience.
Having served on Alexandria’s park and school boards, Stevens brings with her some experience and know-how to turn plans into action. She showed her leadership ability and commitment to the public good, as well, several years ago when she helped spearhead fundraising efforts to keep the Alexandria city swimming pool open. The effort attracted national news coverage.
Her experience, energy, commitment to the community and vision for Alexandria’s future set Stevens apart.
South Bend Tribune Nov. 3, 2019
A better approach to vote centers in St. Joseph County
Election officials are once again considering establishing vote centers to allow voters to cast their ballots at any polling place in St. Joseph County.
But this time around, the proposal calls for a more thoughtful, less rushed approach.
That’s one way that this latest plan represents an improvement on the earlier proposal. The plan of more than four years ago called for substantial consolidation of polling locations right off the bat. It was scrapped after opposition from county Democrats who were concerned it could depress voter turnout.
There would be no consolidation or closing of precincts under St. Joseph County’s latest plan, at least not yet. All 146 polling locations would be kept through next year’s presidential election.
Voting centers aren’t a new idea. The model is already in use in 38 of Indiana’s 92 counties. Elkhart County implemented vote centers in 2014, and Marion County began using vote centers in the last primary to increase the number of options voters have to cast their ballots.
The county election board has asked the county council and commissioners to approve the idea. The board must also submit its plan to the Indiana Secretary of State before public comment and unanimous re-approval by the election board. Then after public comment and unanimous re-approval by the election board, the plan would be in place, “hopefully by New Year’s,” according to county clerk Rita Glenn.
Glenn noted that after analyzing data from the 2020 elections, the election board could consider consolidating some polling locations or scaling down the number of machines, depending on voter turnout.
We support efforts to make voting easier and more efficient without disenfranchising anyone in the process. Allowing people to vote at any polling place that’s most convenient to them, whether that place be close to their home or workplace or on the way to their children’s school, seems to fulfill those goals. But we are also sensitive to concerns about ensuring such change is discussed publicly so that it doesn’t confuse or discourage anyone from voting — and that any decisions about any future consolidations are made with transparency and with reliable data.
Changing the way a community votes is no small thing. It strikes to the heart of our democracy, to our rights as citizens. And so moving to vote centers shouldn’t be done in haste, and without first getting buy-in from the voters.