Coroner, recorder, surveyor races on ballot
Voters will have the opportunity to pick their candidate for three county offices — coroner, recorder and surveyor — during the General Election on Tuesday, Nov. 8.
Two political newcomers — Democrat Willard Haas and Republican Gary Gilley — are seeking the coroner’s position; the current coroner, Rusty Sizemore, is completing a second four-year term and is barred by term limits from seeking another term. Instead, Sizemore, a Democrat, is challenging Republican Harold Klinstiver for the surveyor position. Klinstiver was appointed surveyor in 2010 following the death of Tom Bube and was elected to a four-year term in 2012.
County Recorder Barbara Best is ineligible to seek another four years in the office due to term limits. Vying for the position are Democrat Cathy Elbert McCarty and Republican Debbie Dennison.
Below are the candidates’ responses to a questionnaire from this newspaper.
Name and age: Willard Haas, 44
Family: Carolyn Haas (mother); Vanessa Elkin, Sherry Pellman, Brenda Conley, Hope Houser and Cindy Davis (sisters); John Haas (brother)
Education/Occupation/Political experience: South Central Junior-Senior High School; Mid America Mortuary College; general manager, Gehlbach & Royse Funeral Home; Harrison County Deputy Coroner; Elizabeth Town Council (four years)
Why are you seeking the office (in 100 words or less)? I have been blessed to have worked in many fields working as a public servant throughout our county. Positions worked are Harrison County Parks Dept., Harrison County Highway Dept. and Harrison County Solid Waste District, which have given me an understanding and benefit of working with the public and to better serve the public. I feel I would be an asset to better serve our Harrison County community as county coroner. It’s a rewarding feeling to know you are helping people in a time of crisis.
What qualifies you for the office (in 150 words or less)? I have attended Indiana State Coroner’s training and testing and currently am serving an externship. I have assisted in the Harrison County Coroner’s office since mid-2015 and am a member of the Indiana State Coroner’s Association. I have assisted over 1,250 Harrison County families with the loss of a loved one. I have over 12 years experience in the mortuary field.
Why should someone vote for you rather than your opponent (in 100 words or less)? I have active experience working as a county coroner, and this is a definite benefit coupled with years of experience in the mortuary field. I am knowledgeable on Indiana state laws through continuing education pertaining to disposition of the body and next of kin.
Contact information for voters: 812-969-2088, Facebook (Willard Haas for county coroner)
Name and age: Gary Gilley, 67
Residency: West Haven, Corydon
Family: In 1982, I married my wife Elizabeth (Liz) Board; we have an adult daughter, Ashley Gilley (registered nurse); a 12-year-old granddaughter, Jaylee; and a 5-year-old granddaughter, Aniston. We attend Old Capitol United Methodist Church in Corydon.
Education/Occupation/Political experience: Graduated from South Central High School. Attended Indiana University Southeast. Graduate of the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy. Graduate of University of Louisville’s Southern Police Institute Homicide Investigation Course. Graduate of Indiana’s Medical Death Investigation Course. Graduate of DEA’s Clandestine Laboratory Investigation Program and State and Local Site Safety Supervisor School in Quantico, Va. Graduate of U.S. Army Non-Commissioned Officers School and Ranger School at Fort Benning, Ga.. Vietnam veteran, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Combat Infantry Badge. Recently retired police officer from the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office with 22+ years of service. I’ve been involved in local politics all of my adult life. Ran for sheriff in 2010.
Why are you seeking the office (in 100 words or less)? I have spent most of my adult life in service to my country and my community, first in the Army in Vietnam and later as a police officer with the Harrison County Sheriff’s Dept. I believe strongly in public service and helping others. The coroner is an important position where experience, training and a good working relationship with the rest of Harrison County’s law enforcement and first responders are critical. I am running to bring the same level of professionalism, training and care we now have in the sheriff’s department to the coroner’s office.
What qualifies you for the office (in 150 words or less)? The coroner is the last person to speak for the deceased. Their voice must always be heard. The people of this county deserve to not have any suspicious deaths slip through the cracks and go uninvestigated. I believe that my more than two decades of law enforcement experience and hundreds of hours of law enforcement training (including homicide and medical death investigation), will ensure every suspicious death in this county is properly investigated. Being a graduate of the University of Louisville’s Southern Police Institute Homicide Investigation Course (one of the most respected homicide courses in the entire nation, attended by law enforcement from across the country) and the other training has left me well-prepared for this position. My 22 years with the police department and my involvement with my church also give me the ability to handle situations with the compassion and care they deserve.
Why should someone vote for you rather than your opponent (in 100 words or less)? Past performances are the best indicator of future performance. I have a proven track record of service to my community and my country. I have a significant amount of law enforcement training and, as a retired police officer, have an excellent working relationship with law enforcement and first responders in our county. I believe that I have the experience and training necessary to bring an increased level of professionalism and care to the coroner’s office.
Contact information for voters: Gary Gilley, 2510 West Haven Drive, Corydon, IN 47112. Cell: 812-596-0412. Email: [email protected] Facebook: facebook.com/garygilleyforcoroner.
Name and age: Cathy Elbert McCarty, 49
Family: Parents are Jean and Lambert Elbert. My husband of 28 years is Roy McCarty Jr. We have two children, Jennifer Fonda (Devon) and Michael McCarty (Hannah Bays); two grandchildren, Ella and Harper. My siblings are Connie Lahue, Randy, Jim, Steve, Richard, John Elbert and Mary Ann Wells.
Education/Occupation/Political experience: Graduate of Corydon Central High School and Spencerian Business College. I am currently employed as the office manager for Whitman Auto Financing Inc. Previously employed for 24 years by Chase bank, starting in bookkeeping and ending my career as the assistant branch manager. This is my first time seeking public office.
Why are you seeking the office (in 100 words or less)? I am a lifelong resident of Harrison County, and I feel that I would be a great asset as the recorder. I want to work for you, the taxpayers of Harrison County. It is time to explore all options and make sure that we are using the most up-to-date resources that are available. We need to continue moving the office forward with the newest technology that the state offers.
What qualifies you for the office (in 150 words or less)? I have over 30 years experience in customer service and over 10 years experience in office management. As a manager, I am responsible for staffing within budget and keeping costs to a minimum while maintaining a friendly and positive work atmosphere. I understand the importance of keeping in compliance with all regulations. My experience and willingness in helping others research problems and resolve issues in a timely and accurate manner would be very beneficial to the recorder’s office. I am dependable, trustworthy and ready to serve our county.
Why should someone vote for you rather than your opponent (in 100 words or less)? I have the temperament, personality and work ethic that is needed for this office. When working for the county, you must be readily accessible and willing to work with all other departments within the county. I assure you, that once elected, every employee working with me will be qualified to answer all questions and help each and every person that walks through our doors. One thing that we must never forget is that the county office is YOUR office, and I want to work for you.
Contact information for voters: Email: [email protected]; cell: 812-736-7593
Name and age: Debbie Dennison, 53
Residency: Glidas Road, Mauckport
Family: I have been married to Norman Dennison for 30 years, and I have three grown children, Matthew, Alyssa and Cassie, who are graduates from Corydon Central High School.
Education/Occupation/Political experience: I studied business at Eastfield College, and I am currently employed as first deputy recorder with over seven years experience. I have never run for office before.
Why are you seeking the office (in 100 words or less)? I am seeking the office of Harrison County recorder in order to preserve and maintain documents according to state statues of Indiana and to provide excellent customer service in processing and retrieving documents. I have a strong desire to continue in public service and to serve the residents of Harrison County.
What qualifies you for the office (in 150 words or less)? I am trained in all aspects of the operation of the recorder’s office, and I have been first deputy recorder for over seven years. I have the knowledge of operating five different software programs dealing with processing, data entry, back indexing, replications and conversion of old and new documents. I have State Board of Accounts training. I enjoy the customer service aspect of the office, and I will encourage promoting the free property alert program that will alert property owners when a document has been recorded in their name. I also have basic bookkeeping, which is used to reconcile the bank account to end-of-the-month reports.
Why should someone vote for you rather than your opponent (in 100 words or less)? Having served as first deputy recorder for over seven years, I have the knowledge, skill and experience required to make a smooth transition. I have State Board of Accounts training for this office. I am a conservative who will continue using the recorder’s perpetuation money to help fund the budget of the recorder’s office, reducing the cost to taxpayers. I will continue the use of the latest software programs in the recording and conversion of documents. Experience and competency are important concerns in this election. I humbly ask for your vote on Nov. 8. I would greatly appreciate your support.
Contact information for voters: 812-267-6939; [email protected]; facebook.com/debbie4recorder
Name and age: Rusty Sizemore, 65
Residency: Georgetown, Harrison County
Family: Married to Vickie 44 years; four children: son Michael Sizemore and wife Erin of Lanesville, son Drew Sizemore of Orlando, Fla., daughter Leigh Ann Campbell and husband James of Lanesville and son Jordan Sizemore of Georgetown
Education/Occupation/Political experience: I am a 1970 graduate of Lanesville Community schools, continuing education in Water Waste Water and geographic information system (GIS) mapping, assistant Lanesville police chief for 25 years, Lanesville Water Waste Water superintendent for 25 years and have served two terms as Harrison County coroner.
Why are you seeking the office (in 100 words or less)? The last eight years as Harrison County serving my community as an elected official has been the most rewarding experience of my career. I would like to continue my political involvement in my community as Harrison County surveyor. My past experiences and education have prepared me well for this position.
What qualifies you for the office (in 150 words or less)? My experience as Water Waste Water superintendent, which includes utility easement right-of-ways and boundary locations. I am also familiar with GIS mapping, reading and understanding blueprint and with design and stormwater runoff.
Why should someone vote for you rather than your opponent (in 100 words or less)? I am a man of integrity, service and excellence. I put the needs of my community before my own self-preservations. As Harrison County coroner, I have proven to be an outstanding employee of the county. And with my years of service and experience, I will do as well as job, if not better, than my appointment as coroner.
Contact information for voters: 812-989-6725
Name and age: Harold Klinstiver, 74
Residency: State Road 11, Elizabeth
Family: Married for 53 years to Carol, three daughters, one son, two granddaughters and one great-grandson
Education/Occupation/Political experience: Graduate, South Central High School. Army National Guard veteran. Surveying and engineering from Purdue University. Worked as a construction and survey supervisor for the Indiana Dept. of Transportation (INDOT) for 42 years. Chosen to succeed the late Tom Bube as Harrison County Surveyor in 2010. Elected Harrison County surveyor in 2012.
Why are you seeking the office (in 100 words or less)? Serving as your county surveyor for the past six years has been a great honor and has been very fulfilling. I have been able to use my 50 years of experience to help solve problems that arise in the everyday lives of the residents of our community and to make a difference. It has been a pleasure to serve the property owners and taxpayers of our county, and I hope to be able to continue doing so.
What qualifies you for the office (in 150 words or less)? I have six years of experience as county surveyor and over four decades of experience in construction and survey work with INDOT before that. I know the operation of the office and have assisted over a thousand residents of the county since becoming surveyor. When someone comes into the office, they often have an issue involving their land. They might be upset about a property dispute with a neighbor, for example, or may have questions before buying land for their first home. They could have an issue with a survey or a deed that dates back decades, even a century or more in some cases. Survey issues can be complex. It is important to have the ability to listen, the knowledge to be able to help them and the expertise and experience to help them reach a solution.
Why should someone vote for you rather than your opponent (in 100 words or less)? I believe that qualified, experienced people give the best service to the public. I have 50 years of experience in surveying and related fields. I am seeking re-election to serve the public by applying my knowledge and experience. I am conservative, and I have always run a tight ship, being a good steward of taxpayer dollars in the office. As surveyor, I have worked to use new technology to digitize records because digital records save money over the long term and are protected from damage or disaster. If re-elected, I hope to continue this work.
Contact information for voters: Home phone: 812-969-2446; cell phone: 812-738-3206; email: [email protected]; Facebook: facebook.com/haroldklinstiver