3 of 4 district council seats contested
Three of the four Harrison County Council district seats are contested in the Nov. 6 General Election.
In District 2, Republican Ross Schulz and Democrat Frederick (Fred) Naegele are vying for the seat being vacated by Republican Gary Davis, who decided not to seek another term. Neither Schulz nor Naegele had opposition in the May Primary. In District 3, Republican incumbent Holli Baker Castetter is being challenged by Carl L. (Buck) Mathes. Castetter defeated Tony Myers in the Primary. In District 4, Republican Brad Wiseman and Democrat Josh Ronau are squaring off for the seat currently held by Republican Sam Day, who decided not to run again. Wiseman beat two challengers, Taylor Johnson and David Wallace, in the Primary. The District 1 seat will be retained by Republican Kyle S. Nix, who defeated challenger Phil Smith in the Primary. The Democrats did not field a candidate for the General Election during a June caucus.
District councilmembers are selected by voters in their district.
Here are the candidates’ responses to a questionnaire they received from this newspaper.
Name and residency: Frederick (Fred) L. Naegele, New Salisbury
Family: Spouse, Carol Nolot Naegele; children, Eric Harris (Natalie), Kelley Perry (Haynes) and Megan Naegele; two grandchildren, Lane and Gracie
Education: Corydon Central High School 1979
Occupation: Project supervisor with the Indiana Dept. of Transportation (26 years), substitute bus driver with North Harrison Community schools
Political experience: North Harrison School Board 2002-2010, Jackson Township Advisory Board 2010-present
Contact information for voters: [email protected], 812-347-3044, Facebook: Fred Naegele for County Council
Why are you seeking the office (in 100 words or less)? Since first becoming involved with local government in 2002, I have gained interest and knowledge in the ways organizations must operate and function on a daily basis. I feel I am now qualified due to these past experiences to help manage at a higher level, such as our county council. I want to utilize my skills and familiarity with budgets and spending to help with our county’s expenditures. While serving on the Jackson Township Advisory Board, we have utilized funds to directly benefit our residents. I now wish to work with others to further these practices at the county level.
Why should someone vote for you rather than your opponent (in 100 words or less)? I have 16 years of experience, serving on the North Harrison School Board as well as the Jackson Township Advisory Board, which has provided me with skills and knowledge to work with others to fund, finance and budget a local government. My employment with the Indiana Dept. of Transportation also challenges me with budgeting and financing the management of construction projects on a daily basis. In addition, I have great understanding of the county’s need for maintenance and improvement in our infrastructure. Being a former reserve officer and past member of the Ramsey VFD gives me awareness for public safety.
What do you believe are the top two projects county council needs to focus on during the next two years and why (in 150 words or less)? The two major projects I feel residents are concerned with are high-speed internet and economic growth. I have met with many individuals who voice their appeal for high-speed internet throughout the county. There has been a valuable foundation placed by Mainstream; however, there continues to be obstacles to fulfilling this development for everyone. All three of our county’s schools have moved towards the issuing of tablets or devices for assignments and instruction. It is essential that all students have access to internet, no matter where they live, in order to complete tasks. Secondly, we need good paying jobs with benefits. There is commercial property available near Quarry Road and the Lanesville interchange that remains undeveloped. There are great opportunities for new businesses to develop here, and, as a member of the county council, I feel it is an important objective to attract businesses to these areas to promote economic expansion.
Name and residency: Ross Schulz, Ramsey
Family: Wife, Kelly; two boys, Camden, 4, Grady, 1
Education: North Harrison, 2003; Franklin College, 2007 (news writing journalism degree, minor in history)
Occupation: Staff writer/photographer, The Corydon Democrat (local government reporter 2007-2017); varsity golf, middle school basketball coach, North Harrison; board member, Boys & Girls Clubs of Harrison-Crawford Counties
Political experience: First time running for office
Contact information for voters: 812-736-1815, [email protected], Facebook: Ross Schulz for County Council
Why are you seeking the office (in 100 words or less)? I’ve spent a lot of time observing county government, albeit from the outside looking in, attending 10-plus years of meetings of both the county council and commissioners. I thoroughly enjoyed relaying what happened in the meetings to the general public. With the retirement of long-time councilman Gary Davis, I saw an opportunity to step up and step in to run for the District 2 seat. I want to see our children grow up in the same great community we did with ever-growing opportunities while never sacrificing our rural heritage.
Why should someone vote for you rather than your opponent (in 100 words or less)? Experience. While I haven’t been on the county council, I’ve attended 10 years-plus of meetings, both of the county council and county commissioners. I’ve seen what works and what doesn’t. I’m comfortable with the process and have sat in on multiple years of budget hearings. Since graduating college, my job has allowed me to be a part of this great community by meeting and talking with residents. I’ve had the privilege to listen to the concerns of the people and look forward to continuing to do so as a part of the county council.
What do you believe are the top two projects the county council needs to focus on during the next two years and why (in 150 words or less)? I’d give thoughtful consideration to any project brought before the council by the county commissioners or department heads, keeping the budget in mind. As of now, a good portion of the council’s expendable budget is mostly tied up with the Lanesville Connector Road project for the coming years. We should focus on trying to balance the budget more than looking for more projects to spend money on. I’m not running to spend money on a specific project or projects, but I want the county to have long-term financial planning, specifically with riverboat funds. We don’t need to have years where our expendable riverboat funds are nearly exhausted by February. We need to keep the county’s annual budget and additional expenditures limited to the amount of revenues generated in that year.
Name and residency: Carl L. (Buck) Mathes, Corydon
Family: 3 kids
Education: High school and Grier Technical & American School of Auctioneering
Occupation: Retired contractor and farmer
Political experience: 12 years on Harrison County Council; 4 years on Harrison County Commissioners board
Contact information for voters: 812-738-2048
Why are you seeking the office (in 100 words or less)? Being well qualified to serve on Harrison County Council and having 12 years of experience.
Why should someone vote for you rather than your opponent (in 100 words or less)? My previous years of experience working with and for the residents and county government. Also, my very conservative approach to spending county funds. I feel my past experience and knowledge in county government make me the most qualified candidate.
What do you believe are the top two projects the county council needs to focus on during the next two years and why (in 150 words or less)? My main concern is to fully support our schools and fire departments. I will support a juvenile detention center located in Harrison County. Presently, we transport juveniles out of the county, causing great expense for taxpayers. Having a center in the county would save money and create jobs. Additionally, my goal is to maintain bridges and roads in the county.
Name and residency: Holli Castetter, Corydon
Family: I am the daughter of Bill and Shelia Baker of Lanesville, Ind. I have been married to Bill Castetter for 38 years. We have three married children: Rachael Castetter Nichols (John Nichols), Nicholas Castetter (Olivia Pacciano) and Douglas Castetter (Hailey Williams).
Education: Butler University Bachelor of Science, 1982. IU School of Business, 1989.
Occupation: I am the treasurer at Corydon Central High School, a member of the Harrison County Council and a small business owner preparing high school students to take college entrance exams.
Political experience: This is my fourth year serving on the Harrison County Council in District 3. I served four years as the secretary for the Harrison County Republican Central Committee, and I currently serve as the treasurer. I am a member of the council’s Classification and Compensation Committee, the council’s Fiscal Planning Committee, the Harrison County Planning & Zoning Board, the Town of Corydon Stellar Committee and the Emergency Food and Shelter Board for Harrison, Floyd and Clark County. I have served on the Alternative School Board and the Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative.
Contact information for voters: Email address — [email protected]; Phone number — 812-972-2445
Why are you seeking the office (in 100 words or less)? It has been an honor and privilege to serve on the Harrison County Council. I love the challenges and satisfaction of public service, and I am dedicated to building on our past accomplishments, growing the Community Fund to record levels while making investments to benefit our entire community. Harrison County is home to many hard-working citizens dedicated to their families, faith and community. I understand the profound impact the council’s decisions can have on the lives of our citizens, and I am committed to continue helping them by using our revenues conservatively to serve as many people as possible.
Why should someone vote for you rather than your opponents (in 100 words or less)? I work hard to be conservative with your tax dollars and riverboat revenue while making wise investments in infrastructure, public safety and substance abuse prevention. I supported pay raises for our police officers, purchasing equipment for first responders, funding the expansion of high-speed internet, providing property tax relief and financially supporting our schools. I recognize the importance of thoroughly investigating issues, listening to all sides and considering all possible solutions. I enjoy using my time and knowledge for the good of our community and love the challenge of finding cost-effective solutions. I will never vote to raise your taxes.
What do you believe are the top two projects the county council needs to focus on during the next two years and why (in 150 words or less)? Experience has proven that problems often arise unexpectedly. While I don’t have a project wish list, I believe we should carefully consider all requests, especially those that protect our citizens and those that bolster economic development. Strengthening our economy creates higher paying jobs and provides incentives for families to stay in Harrison County while attracting others to relocate here. Some funding requests have merit, such as providing school resource officers in every school in the county, equipping our police to help them keep drugs and criminals out of our community, providing emergency services with life-saving equipment and providing tax abatements to companies that are creating jobs. Other requests do not have merit, like using public money to help fund a “virtual” aquarium or building a parking garage in a flood plain. Employing good judgment and conservative principles will help keep Harrison County the best place to live, work and play.
Name and residency: Josh Ronau, Elizabeth, Taylor Township
Family: I celebrated 13 years of marriage to my wife, Misty Warren Ronau, in June. We have one daughter, Madeline, who is the bright and shiny center of our universe.
Education: Post-graduate studies in urban and public affairs, University of Louisville; Master of Business Administration, University of Louisville; Bachelor of Arts in math and economics, University of Louisville
Occupation: Principle analyst of Human Resource Systems, Ellucian
Political experience: I have never held an elected public office.
Contact information for voters: www.facebook.com/josh.ronau.5, [email protected] or 812-969-3269
Why are you seeking the office (in 100 words or less)? I believe in fiscal responsibility. It is important to advocate for the low cost of living and high quality of life that we are accustomed to in Harrison County. The county council has been hemorrhaging funds outside of the county budget on special projects for years. I would like to reassure retirees that they won’t be forced to pay for the cost of frivolous projects that do not benefit them in any way, like ridiculously overpriced and poorly placed boat ramps. I will demand fiscal responsibility for the residents of District 4.
Why should someone vote for you rather than your opponent (in 100 words or less)? Council responsibilities cannot begin and end with meetings twice a month. Ensuring decisions with your money are being made with complete information and that all the necessary people have been consulted has to be non-negotiable. Not doing so is wasteful and puts our residents and public servants at risk, like in the case of the Taylor Township Fire House. I will demand transparency in county spending. It has been an incredible task to gain access to a full picture of what is being spent outside of our regular county budget- information that should be readily available to our residents.
What do you believe are the top two projects the county council needs to focus on during the next two years and why (in 150 words or less)? First, we need to reign in special projects. The council is hemorrhaging money and putting residents at risk. Simply listening to the Elizabeth Volunteer Fire Dept. would have avoided hundreds of thousands of dollars in wasteful spending and alleviated strain on the fire department that is vital to the well-being of the Fourth District. The county has purchased a ridiculous ditch in Elizabeth and are throwing money at mitigating erosion with no end in sight or plan in place to prevent it from contaminating the aquifer that provides the water supply to our residents. Second, we need to focus on infrastructure and safety. We need to make sure that our residents can safely navigate our county and that the fire and emergency services are appropriately funded and supported. These are not ground-breaking ideas. They are just common sense.
Name and residency: Brad Wiseman, Elizabeth
Family: Wife, Kim; son, Alex; daughter-in-law, Leslie; and grandson, Maverick; son of Frank and Linda Wiseman
Education: Graduate Castle High School; Business School, Indiana University Southeast
Occupation: Equian — supervisor of 18 people. IHSAA basketball, baseball and volleyball official and South Central High School varsity baseball coach
Political experience: I have never run for public office before.
Contact information for voters: Home — 812-969-2937, cell — 1-502-523-5095, email — [email protected]
Why are you seeking the office (in 100 words or less)? I have been a resident of Harrison County for 45 years. I’ve witnessed tremendous growth and opportunities develop for the people of this great county. I want to use my 30 years of business experience to help the county continue to grow and move forward by making sound, conservative decisions that will benefit current residents of Harrison County and generations to come. Given the opportunity, I would be honored to put this experience to use as part of the Harrison County Council representing District 4 to ensure our county will continue to be the wonderful place we call home.
Why should someone vote for you rather than your opponent (in 100 words or less)? I have over 30 years of establishing budgets, setting goals (to make sure the budget is met) and reaching those goals. I also negotiate contracts and resolve outstanding expenses owed, in order to ensure that my clients are awarded the best possible financial outcome. I have been recognized for this expertise and was placed into a mentorship program to teach these skills to others. My employer promoted me to a supervisor position to lead, train and develop these same skills in my fellow co-workers.
What do you believe are the top two projects the county council needs to focus on during the next two years and why (in 150 words or less)? Since I have entered the race for county council, I have knocked on over 1,000 doors and attended several events that have allowed me to speak with the residents of District 4. There have been two topics that continue to come up. The first is getting the pool at South Harrison Park fixed. The pool is an important piece of the park for the residents in the area as well as an excellent attraction for those seeking camping sites. The second has been taking the necessary steps to protect the water supply in Elizabeth from erosion. I am not running with any kind of preconceived agenda. I believe it’s important to listen to the people and speak for their concerns as we address these issues with a conservative approach. I will also address issues that arise in the future in the same manner.