|Fri, Apr 18, 2014 06:37 AM
October 10, 2012 | 08:41 AM
Six candidates, including two incumbents, are vying for the three at-large seats on the Harrison County Council. The four district seats will be on the ballot in 2014. Council members are elected to four-year terms and are not restricted to term limits. The at-large candidates are incumbents Richard Gerdon, a Democrat, Jim Heitkemper, a Republican, Democrats Leslie June Robertson and Patricia A. (Pat) Wolfe and Republicans Sherry Brown and M.E. Wallace. Questionnaires were sent to all candidates. Below are their responses.
R-Sherry Brown (click for larger version)
Family: Randy, husband of 28 years; daughter, Sharon Thompson; sons, Isaac and Shane
School and year graduated: 1984 South Central graduate
Additional education:Did not answer
Occupation: Circuit court clerk 8 years
Previous political experience: Circuit court clerk 8 years
What qualifies you for the office (in 100 words or less)? Having dealt with multiple $100,000-plus budgets for the past 8 years
As the county's budget increases, more money from riverboat gaming revenue is used to offset the budget. Do you think the council should supplement the county's General Fund this way? Why or why not (in 150 words or less)? I do not believe we should use gaming revenue for day-to-day expenses. We have no guarantee that the riverboat will be here in five years or even two. We have to be able to provide services using the revenue we are guaranteed.
If elected, what one major goal would you hope to accomplish during your term and why (in 150 words or less)? Attaining and maintaining a balanced budget. I believe Harrison Countians want their elected officials to be good stewards of their tax dollars, and that's what I will be if elected.
Contact information for voters: 3130 Lake Road SE, Corydon, IN 47112; 968-3059; or firstname.lastname@example.org
D-Richard Gerdon (click for larger version)
Residency: Life-long resident of Harrison County
Family: Wife, Rilla Gerdon, and sons/grandchildren: Brian (Erin Reed)/Porter; and Kevin (Candace Saulman)/Isaac, Ava, Violet and Sawyer, due to arrive just after the election
School and year graduated: Graduated from Corydon Central High in 1977
Occupation: Vice president of credit administration at First Savings Bank in Corydon
Previous political experience: Currently on county council serving fourth year
What qualifies you for the office (in 100 words or less)? My experience and my ability to put politics aside to resolve issues with the end goal of doing what's best for the county. I am committed and dedicated to seeing this county prosper for our kids and grandkids.
As the county's budget increases, more money from riverboat gaming revenue is used to offset the budget. Do you think the council should supplement the county's General Fund this way? Why or why not (in 150 words or less)? It's always been my position that as long as there is riverboat revenue available local property taxes will not increase. So, yes, I agree with supplementing the General Fund keeping in mind two things. It is the council's responsibility to keep supplements in check, and in any budget strategy, whether for your family, business or the county, some portion needs to be saved and we have consistently been doing that.
If elected, what one major goal would you hope to accomplish during your term and why (in 150 words or less)? If re-elected, I would continue to work toward a long-term financial plan doing whatever is necessary to have the county in good financial condition so that it could withstand the loss of the riverboat revenue without suffering very many changes in the services and benefits we have come to depend on and enjoy.
Contact information for voters: 736-1139; email@example.com; and my Facebook page, Richard Gerdon for County Council
R-Jim Heitkemper (click for larger version)
Family: Spouse, Sara; seven grown children between us: Elizabeth, Michael, William, Sarah, Joy, Christian and Micah; and nine grandchildren
School and year graduated: 1975 Floyd Central High School
Additional education: Short courses in investing, business ag related
Occupation: Farmer, home improvement contractor, county government
Previous political experience: County commissioner 2002-2006
What qualifies you for the office (in 100 words or less)? It is said that I have a good level-headed, common-sense approach to issues, that I am quick to understand the other side's point of view, and I am not afraid to debate those issues intelligently to find a common goal.
If elected, what one major goal would you hope to accomplish during your term and why (in 150 words or less)? To work hand in hand with the commissioners to deliver good government. I will continue to strive to hold the line on additional spending and work to help provide the needs of this county. Also, we need to do something with the highway department site. There are a lot of wants and needs in Harrison County; I'm good at separating the wants from needs. Our riverboat revenue has followed a recipe of saving and spending. Some tweaking to the plan has occurred, but this division recipe of revenue is working well. Harrison County has lived with a double-edge sword on spending. We've been told to save as much as possible yet live in fear that, if we build up too much in savings, the state may redistribute what we think is ours. In 2005, the state considered redistribution; Harrison County had the best marks for doing a good job with riverboat recnue.
Contact information for voters: 969-2123 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Leslie J. Robertson
D-Leslie J. Robertson (click for larger version)
Family: I was born and raised in Harrison County. The oldest of four daughters of George D. (deceased) and June Eckart Fink. Married 30 years to Larry Robertson; two grown daughters, Cari and Stacy
School and year graduated: Corydon Central High School 1976
Additional education: B.A. Indiana University Southeast
Occupation: Former executive assistant to the president of Baptist Hospital East, now a community volunteer/board member for various local organizations
Previous political experience: Harrison County Council representative, District I 2006-2010, school board member, North Harrison Community School Corp. 1996-2004
What qualifies you for the office (in 100 words or less)? I have been and continue to be an active member of my community. I enjoyed serving my constituents as their county council representative in District I, and I believe it is important that I do my part in maintaining and improving our way of life while planning for the future of Harrison County.
As the county's budget increases, more money from riverboat gaming revenue is used to offset the budget. Do you think the council should supplement the county's General Fund this way? Why or why not (in 150 words or less)? When I became a council member in 2006, riverboat revenue was already being used to offset the shortfall in county general. As our county has grown in population so has the demand for new services. Our riverboat revenues have allowed county leaders to respond to these needs without raising taxes. However, I am concerned our riverboat revenues may soon end and our county leaders must be prepared. I believe it is wise and fiscally prudent to begin to look at the budget with this in mind and plan for that time. Our county leaders must be cautious about using riverboat revenues to fund additional positions or services that would have traditionally been paid through county general. One way our county leaders have planned for the possible loss of riverboat revenue is by establishing an endowed fund at the Harrison County Community Foundation which allows county government to use the interest earned to fund governmental expenses.
If elected, what one major goal would you hope to accomplish during your term and why (in 150 words or less)? I have no set agenda. But, I do believe our county leaders must be willing to work together now to ensure our riverboat revenues are utilized in a way that will build a foundation upon which Harrison County can benefit in the future through planned economic growth.
Contact information for voters: 347-3290 or by e-mail at email@example.com
Marion (M.E.) Wallace
R-Marion (M.E.) Wallace (click for larger version)
Family: Wife, Jean
School and year graduated: Bachelor's degree in resource management
Additional education:Did not anwer
Occupation: Harrison County Veterans Service Officer
Previous political experience: Have run for council twice unsuccessfully
What qualifies you for the office (in 100 words or less)? I feel the diversity of my military background of 24 years and successful veterans program in Harrison County for nine years shows I am a person with the ability, insight and direction to be the councilman who would help lead the county to a standard of government for the whole county, not just some interest groups. I'll encourage sound financial management from all departments for the best results for the people of Harrison County. I have the interest of the people. I serve or have served on advisory boards and gained experience and training to help prepare me for this position.
As the county's budget increases, more money from riverboat gaming revenue is used to offset the budget. Do you think the council should supplement the county's General Fund this way? Why or why not (in 150 words or less)? Yes! Only for county central government. With a clear understanding and knowledge that, if the riverboat funds are lowered or lost, that all, I repeat, all, departments will be cut. I believe that riverboat funds are the county's residents and should, in this case, be used by departments that will provide services for all the county. Too many departments, organizations, etc., think that riverboat funds are their billfold. I will fight to stop this! The county as a whole should keep the major riverboat funds and benefits.
If elected, what one major goal would you hope to accomplish during your term and why (in 150 words or less)?There is no one major goal to accomplish, except to control spending and live within our budget and work within our means. To control spending by example and leadership, focusing on the mission at hand and not all the what ifs. Planning ahead is a good guideline, but too much planning ahead seems to cause failure now. Put a stop to the wishy-washy ideas/requests for funding and manage the county's funds for real projects and to help the county with employers and jobs. Control taxes by the driver: spending!
Contact information for voters: 738-0309 or P.O. Box 171, New Salisbury, IN 47161
D-Pat Wolfe (click for larger version)
Family: Husband of 47 years, James Wolfe; daughter, Jamie, and her husband, Dale Fried, and their sons, Nick and Trent Fried; son, Jimmy Wolfe, and his son, Logan Wolfe
School and year graduated: Frederick Fraize High School 1964
Additional education: Associate of Science in journalism, Indiana University Southeast
Previous political experience: Part-time assessor clerk 3-1/2 years, deputy assessor 4 years, county assessor 4 years, county auditor 8 years
What qualifies you for the office (in 100 words or less)? Through lifelong "on the job training," I know county government. I know the budget process, the offices and departments and the job they have to do and what they need to do it. I have also worked in the private sector and understand the working people and his or her family. I have always been fair and honest, and I listen to people's concerns. I believe I could help make intelligent decisions that would benefit the county. I like to serve people.
As the county's budget increases, more money from riverboat gaming revenue is used to offset the budget. Do you think the council should supplement the county's General Fund this way? Why or why not (in 150 words or less)? I have come to believe we need to be more visionary and smarter with our riverboat spending. We could be making yearly riverboat investments in certain departments, creating perpetuation funds through the HCCF that would guarantee funds in the future to run these departments, no tax hike, no General Fund drain. The council would still appropriate these funds for budget, and the commissioners and department heads would still do the hiring and firing. This, of course, would help our HCCF keep a first-class operation. The Foundation matches a certain dollar amount. It is a win-win for all. If we discipline ourselves to do this each year for a different department, then the riverboat could truly fund our county into the future, helping those who come behind us.
If elected, what one major goal would you hope to accomplish during your term and why (in 150 words or less)? I want to see high-speed Internet service for the whole county. Computers are the present and the future. People depend on the Internet for education, shopping, socializing and the list goes on. I have already talked to several people about this subject, including Frontier. It is hard to just list one so, I want to see the second interstate exit. The money is in place; the council only needs to act. I have already received MANY comments on opening discussions about a convention center in and around Corydon. I have heard for and against, and I truly believe public discussions should take place in each township. This would affect the whole county if it happened. I want to hear more, and I want to hear good civil discussion as to why some are for it and some are set against it. This is a deserving subject for such discussion.
Contact information for voters: phone 968-3349; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org